EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Maternal Health and the Baby Boom

Stefania Albanesi () and Claudia Olivetti ()

No 2013-003, Working Papers from Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group

Abstract: U.S. fertility rose from a low of 2.27 children for women born in 1908 to a peak of 3.21 children for women born in 1932. It dropped to a new low of 1.74 children for women born in 1949, before stabilizing for subsequent cohorts. We propose a novel explanation for this boom-bust pattern, linking it to the huge improvements in maternal health that started in the mid 1930s. Our hypothesis is that the improvements in maternal health contributed to the mid-twentieth century baby boom and generated a rise in women's human capital, ultimately leading to a decline in desired fertility for subsequent cohorts. To examine this link empirically, we exploit the large cross-state variation in the magnitude of the decline in pregnancy-related mortality and the differential exposure by cohort. We find that the decline in maternal mortality is associated with a rise in fertility for women born between 1921 and 1940, with a rise in college and high school graduation rates for women born in 1933-1950 relative to previous cohorts, and with a decline in fertility for women born in 1941-1950 relative to those born in 1921-1940. The analysis provides new insights on the determinants of fertility in the U.S. and other countries that experienced similar improvements in maternal health.

Keywords: Maternal mortality; Fertility choice; Baby boom; human capital (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J11 J13 N12 N3 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dem, nep-evo, nep-hea and nep-his
Note: FI
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://humcap.uchicago.edu/RePEc/hka/wpaper/Albane ... health-baby-boom.pdf First version, May, 2013 (application/pdf)

Related works:
Journal Article: Maternal health and the baby boom (2014) Downloads
Working Paper: Maternal Health and the Baby Boom (2010)
Working Paper: Maternal Health and the Baby Boom (2010) Downloads
Working Paper: Maternal Health and the Baby Boom (2010) Downloads
Working Paper: Maternal Health and the Baby Boom (2010)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hka:wpaper:2013-003

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in Working Papers from Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Jennifer Pachon ().

 
Page updated 2020-07-13
Handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2013-003