What Explains Fertility? Evidence from Italian Pension Reforms

A PSC Brown Bag Seminar

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

Monday, 3-2-2009.   ARCHIVED EVENT

Location: 6050 ISR Thompson St

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.

PSC Brown Bag seminars highlight recent research in population studies and serve as a focal point for building our research community.

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