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A sequential probability model of fertility patterns


The present paper analyses the fertility histories of a sample of women within a stochastic framework. Recognising the sequential nature of reproductive decisions, the probability that a birth will occur at any given date is related to the realisations of past decisions and to all new information accrued since the last decision date, as well as to the characteristics of the potential mother. Time series are combined with survey data to provide information about the changing economic environment facing all women in the sample. The results of the analysis show the effects of wage rates, child benefits and various personal characteristics on birth probability profiles. The conclusions of the econometric analysis are related to existing theory and to the results of other empirical studies of the economic factors affecting the timing and spacing of births.

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Thanks are due to Ermisch, Jurgen Doornik and anonymous referees for helpful comments, to Mrs Su Spencer for careful typing and also to the ESRC Data Archive for making available the data. All errors are, of course, ours.

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Barmby, T., Cigno, A. A sequential probability model of fertility patterns. J Popul Econ 3, 31–51 (1990).

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  • Probability Model
  • Personal Characteristic
  • Wage Rate
  • Economic Factor
  • Paper Analyse