Kasey Buckles, Daniel Hungerman, Steven Lugauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Many papers show that aggregate fertility is pro-cyclical over the business cycle. Using data on more than 100 million births from 1988 to 2014, we show that for recent recessions in the United States, there is a large and rapid fall in the growth rate of conceptions several quarters prior to economic decline. This newly emerging pattern appears in the aggregate data, as well as within individual states and in many European countries. Our findings suggest that fertility behaviour is more forward looking and sensitive to changes in short-run expectations about the economy than previously thought.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-565
Number of pages25
JournalEconomic Journal
Issue number634
StatePublished - Feb 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful for comments from participants at the Midwest Macroeconomics Meetings, the H2D2 Conference at the University of Michigan, the NBER Children’s Program meeting, the Society of the Economics of the Household Meetings, and in the many seminars where we presented this article. We also thank Anna Aizer, Martha Bailey, Christiane Baumeister, Hernan Boedo, Bill Evans, Ana Herrera and Caroline Hoxby for useful comments and suggestions. Travel related to this project was made possible in part by support from the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, College of Arts and Letters, University of Notre Dame.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Royal Economic Society.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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