From Freedom to Fertility – The End of War, Parental Selection, and Children’s Outcomes
SpeakerEsmee Zwiers (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
LocationErasmus University Rotterdam, Tinbergen Building, Room tba
Date and time
November 28, 2018
12:00 - 13:00
This paper studies whether children who are conceived during a period of better socioeconomic circumstances grow up in more or less stable families, and whether this affects their adult outcomes more than 50 years later. It considers a large exogenous change in socioeconomic conditions resulting from the end of WWII in the Netherlands. I exploit regional differences in the timing and magnitude of the improved socioeconomic conditions, which caused a Birth Peak in the area that experienced the largest change in socioeconomic conditions. The regional variation is used to compare children conceived before and after the liberation in a difference-in-difference framework. Using Dutch administrative data, the results show that children born in regions that faced a larger shock to the socioeconomic environment are not raised in more or less stable families, and do not fare better or worse in adulthood. Two types of behaviors played a role during the Birth Peak: (1) delayed conceptions, and (2) liberation celebrations leading to unanticipated conceptions. When distinguishing between these two groups, it appears that the latter group grows up in less stable families, although this does not translate into poorer long-term adult outcomes. I can dismiss that cohort-specific effects mask any parental selection effects.