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Fertility Choice and Financial Development

Filoso, Valerio and Papagni, Erasmo (2010): Fertility Choice and Financial Development.

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We study the consequences of broader access to credit and capital markets on household decisions over the number of children. A model of the net reproduction rate is estimated on data from 78 countries over the period 1995–2010. Liquidity constraints are approximated by private credit and household credit, while opportunities for financial investment are measured by the domestic public debt. We use the Index of Financial Liberalisation (Abiad et al., 2009) as one of the instruments for the financial variables. We find that improved access to credit increases fertility with an elasticity of around 30%, while the effect of the development of capital markets is negative (−10%). The regression model takes the role of social security into account. Quantile regression shows that our results are robust to outliers and parameter heterogeneity.

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