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Next Brown Bag

Mon, Sept 19 at noon:
Paradox of Unintended Pregnancy, Jennifer Barber

psc brown bag iconWhat Explains Fertility? Evidence from Italian Pension Reforms

Francesco Billari (Director, Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics, University of Bocconi, Milano, Italy)

03/02/2009, at noon in room 6050 ISR-Thompson.

Why do people have kids in developed societies? We propose an empirical test of two alternative theories – children as 'consumption' vs. 'investment' good. We use as a natural experiment the Italian pension reforms of the 90s that introduced a clear discontinuity in the treatment across workers. This policy experiment is particularly well suited, since the 'consumption' motive predicts lower future pensions to reduce fertility, while the 'old-age security' to increase it. Our empirical analysis identifies a clear and robust positive effect of less generous future pensions on post-reform fertility. These findings are consistent with 'old-age security' even for contemporary fertility.


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