The Baby Boom and World War II: A Macroeconomic Analysis

48 Pages Posted: 23 May 2008

See all articles by Matthias Doepke

Matthias Doepke

Northwestern University - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Moshe Hazan

Tel Aviv University - Eitan Berglas School of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Yishay Maoz

The Open University of Israel - Department of Management and Economics

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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 quantitative dynamic 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, younger women 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 age-specific labor-force participation and fertility rates that are consistent with U.S. data.

Keywords: fertility, baby boom, World War II, female labor-force participation

JEL Classification: D58, E24, J13, J20

Suggested Citation

Doepke, Matthias and Hazan, Moshe and Maoz, Yishay, The Baby Boom and World War II: A Macroeconomic Analysis. IZA Working Paper No. 3253, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1136415 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0042-7092.2007.00700.x

Matthias Doepke (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Department of Economics ( email )

2003 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Moshe Hazan

Tel Aviv University - Eitan Berglas School of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 39040
Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, 6997801
Israel

HOME PAGE: http://www.moshehazan.sites.tau.ac.il/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Yishay Maoz

The Open University of Israel - Department of Management and Economics ( email )

1 University Road
Raanana, 43107
Israel
9727781891 (Phone)
97297780668 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.openu.ac.il/Personal_sites/Yishay-Maoz.html

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