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Who takes care of the children? The quantity-quality model revisited

Abstract.

We study the Becker and Lewis (1973) quantity-quality model of children adding an explicit child care time constraint for parents. Parents can take care of the children themselves or purchase day care. Our results are: (i) If there only is own care, a quantity-quality trade-off, different from that of Becker and Lewis (1973), arises. The income effect on fertility is positive if child quantity is a closer complement than child quality to the consumption of goods. (ii) If, instead, there is a combination of purchased and own care, the effect of income on fertility is ambiguous, even if quantity of children is a normal good in the standard sense. This is the Becker and Lewis (1973) result extended to a situation with a binding child care time constraint. The conclusion is that the Becker and Lewis (1973) result holds as long as at least some child care is purchased.

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Received: 12 November 1999/Accepted: 1 September 2000

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Lundholm, M., Ohlsson, H. Who takes care of the children? The quantity-quality model revisited. J Popul Econ 15, 455–461 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1007/s001480100071

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s001480100071

  • JEL classification: D1
  • J13
  • Key words: Fertility
  • child care
  • quantity-quality trade-off