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The Baby Boom and World War II: A Macroeconomic Analysis


Doepke, Matthias; Hazan, Moshe; Maoz, Yishay D (2008). The Baby Boom and World War II: A Macroeconomic Analysis. Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics No. 355, University of Zurich.

Abstract

We argue that one major cause of the U.S. postwar baby boom was the increased demand for female labor during World War II. We develop a quantitativendynamic general equilibrium model with endogenous fertility and female labor-force participation decisions. We use the model to assess the long-term implications of a one-time demand shock for female labor, such as the one experienced by American women during wartime mobilization. For the war generation, the shock leads to a persistent increase in female labor supply due to the accumulation of work experience. In contrast, youngernwomen who turn adult after the war face increased labor-market competition, which impels them to exit the labor market and start having children earlier. In our calibrated model, this general-equilibrium effect generates a substantial baby boom followed by a baby bust, as well as patterns for agespecific labor-force participation and fertility rates that are consistent withnU.S data.

Abstract

We argue that one major cause of the U.S. postwar baby boom was the increased demand for female labor during World War II. We develop a quantitativendynamic general equilibrium model with endogenous fertility and female labor-force participation decisions. We use the model to assess the long-term implications of a one-time demand shock for female labor, such as the one experienced by American women during wartime mobilization. For the war generation, the shock leads to a persistent increase in female labor supply due to the accumulation of work experience. In contrast, youngernwomen who turn adult after the war face increased labor-market competition, which impels them to exit the labor market and start having children earlier. In our calibrated model, this general-equilibrium effect generates a substantial baby boom followed by a baby bust, as well as patterns for agespecific labor-force participation and fertility rates that are consistent withnU.S data.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Institute for Empirical Research in Economics (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:January 2008
Deposited On:29 Nov 2011 22:47
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 10:15
Series Name:Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics
ISSN:1424-0459
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/wp.html

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