Tempo and the economy: decomposing the effect of economic shocks on births into tempo and quantum

Joshua R. Goldstein, University of California, Berkeley
Monica Howlett, University of California, Berkeley

What fraction of the decline in births rates during the Great Recession is due to postponement? It is difficult to obtain reliable estimates using existing methods, because noise tends to dominate signal in measured annual fluctuations in tempo effects. Indeed, the Bongaarts-Feeney method tells us implausibly that the intensity of fertility, adjusted for tempo, actually increased in Greece, Spain, and the United States. Our new approach incorporates information from economic time series to decompose short-term fertility change into tempo and quantum effects.

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Presented in Session 106: The great recession and fertility