Family and Economic Development
Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017 3:15 PM – 5:15 PM
- Chair: Tom Vogl, Princeton University
Helping Children Catch Up: Early Life Shocks and the Progresa Experiment
AbstractCan investing in children who faced adverse events in early childhood help them catch up? We answer this question using two orthogonal sources of exogenous variation–resource availability at birth (local rainfall) and cash incentives for school enrollment (the Progresa experiment)–to identify an interaction effect between early endowments and childhood investment. We find, in a sample of Mexican children, that adverse rainfall around the time of birth substantially decreases educational attainment. But children whose families were randomized to receive conditional cash transfers through Progresa were able to mitigate about 80 percent of this negative impact.
Growth and Childbearing in the Short- and Long-Run
AbstractDespite being key to theories of economic growth and the demographic transition, evidence on how fertility responds to aggregate income change is mixed. We analyze economic growth and fertility change in the developing world over six decades, using data on 2.3 million women from 255 surveys in 81 countries. We find that fertility responds differently to fluctuations and long-run growth, and that the nature of these responses varies over the lifecycle. In the short run, fertility is procyclical, with sharply fewer children conceived during recessions, although part of this response is offset in the subsequent year. In the long run, prime-age and total fertility falls more rapidly in faster-growing economies, although older-age fertility falls more slowly due to the postponement of childbearing. Across cohorts of mothers within a country, growth experienced at prime reproductive age has no relation to lifetime fertility, but growth at older ages leads to higher lifetime fertility. These results are consistent with models linking demography, human capital, and long-run growth, extended to include a lifecycle with liquidity constraints.
- J1 - Demographic Economics
- O1 - Economic Development