Are Children “Normal”?

Journal Article

We examine Becker's (1960) contention that children are “normal.” For the cross-section of non-Hispanic white married couples in the United States, we show that when we restrict comparisons to similarly educated women living in similarly expensive locations, completed fertility is positively correlated with the husband's income. The empirical evidence is consistent with children being “normal.” In an effort to show causal effects, we analyze the localized impact on fertility of the mid-1970s' increase in world energy prices, an exogenous shock that substantially increased men's incomes in the Appalachian coal-mining region. Empirical evidence for that population indicates that fertility increases with men's income. © 2013 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Black, DA; Kolesnikova, N; Sanders, SG; Taylor, LJ

Published Date

  • March 2013

Published In

  • Review of Economics and Statistics

Volume / Issue

  • 95 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 21 - 33