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Abstract

This paper attempts to review and synthesize the literature on the economics of fertility in order to develop a model which combines the 'price of time' and the 'relative income' concepts underlying the two most wellknown models. Emphasis is placed on the need to work with an exogenous measure of the female wage, and on the possibility that the income effect of the female wage may be stronger than has been assumed in most 'price of time' models. A model is formulated and tested using aggregated data from the March Current Population Surveys, 1964-1995, and is used to demonstrate the changing net effect of the female wage on fertility during this period. The model appears to explain well the observed pattern of fertility, even in differenced form, and produces a strongly positive effect of male relative income and a strong underlying negative price effect of the female wage. Interaction terms show that the price effect of the female wage has been declining over time, while its income effect has been increasing. Consistent with these findings for fertility, male relative income is found to exert a strong negative effect on female labor force participation and enrollment, while the female wage exerts a strong positive effect on these variables.

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