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American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics: Vol. 6 No. 2 (April 2014)

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Fertility and Wars: The Case of World War I in France

Article Citation

Vandenbroucke, Guillaume. 2014. "Fertility and Wars: The Case of World War I in France." American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 6(2): 108-36.

DOI: 10.1257/mac.6.2.108

Abstract

During World War I the birth rate in France fell by 50%. Why? I build a model of fertility choices where the war implies a positive probability that a wife remains alone, a partially-compensated loss of a husband's income, and a temporary decline in productivity followed by faster growth. I calibrate the model's key parameters using pre-war data. I find that it accounts for 91% of the decline of the birth rate. The main determinant of this result is the loss of expected income associated with the risk that a wife remains alone.

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Authors

Vandenbroucke, Guillaume (U Southern CA)

JEL Classifications

D74: Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances
J13: Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
J24: Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
N33: Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy: Europe: Pre-1913
N34: Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy: Europe: 1913-
N44: Economic History: Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation: Europe: 1913-

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