Skip to main content

The third birth in Sweden

Abstract

This paper considers the formulation, estimation and interpretation of microdynamic models of fertility. Our model explains parity choices, sterility, childlessness, interbirth intervals and initiation of pregnancy within a unified framework. We develop a general methodology for estimating the determinants of transition times to births of different orders. Our procedure incorporates time-varying explanatory variables and unobservables. We present conditions that justify conventional formulae relating hazards to survivor functions when time-varying variables enter hazards. We also consider the validity of widely-used piecemeal estimation strategies that focus on one birth at a time. We consider methods for selecting a best model among a class of non-nested models. Two criteria are set forth and used to evaluate the detminants of third births in Sweden.

We find that two models fit Swedish microdata equally well. One model is consistent with neoclassical economic theory. It assigns a central role to the wages of men and women in explaining the timing and spacing of births. The other model is purely demographic and excludes wages. Purely statistical criteria cannot distinguish these models although in other work we show that the economic models are more parsimonious in terms of the number of parameters that must be estimated and are better able to forecast aggregate time series.

We demonstrate how to interpret the output of multistate fertility models. Wage effects on third births are decomposed into two components: (a) an in direct effect that determines whether a woman is at risk to have a third birth, and (b) a direct effect on the transition rate to the third birth given that a woman has had two births. We find that female wages play an important role in postponing first births but play only a minor role in explaining childlessness. Female wages substantially affect third births. Male wage effects are weaker. We find that female wage effects weaken for more recent cohorts of women. This evidence is consistent with the introduction of progressively more pronatal Swedish policies.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Bjorklund A (1966) Assessing the decline of wage dispersion in Sweden. IUI, Stockholm

    Google Scholar 

  • Bongaarts J, Potter RG (1983) Fertility, biology and behavior. New York, Academic Press

    Google Scholar 

  • Brass W (1958) The distribution of births in human populations. Popul Stud 12(1):51–72

    Google Scholar 

  • Chamberlain G (1985) Heterogeneity, omitted variables bias and duration dependence. In: Heckman J, Singer B (eds) Longitudinal analysis of labor market data. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 3–38

    Google Scholar 

  • Cox DR (1962) Further results on tests of separate families of hypotheses. J R Statist Soc Ser B 24(2):406–424

    Google Scholar 

  • Elbers C, Ridder G (1982) True and spurious duration dependence: the identifiability of the proportional hazard model. Rev Econ Stud 49(3):403–410

    Google Scholar 

  • Feinstone L (1984) Intra-daily market efficiency and price processes in the future market in foreign exchange. Unpublished Ph D dissertation, University of Chicago

  • Flanagan R (1986) Efficiency and equality in Swedish labor markets. In: Bosworth BP, Rivlin AM (eds) The Swedish economy. The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, pp 125–185

    Google Scholar 

  • Flinn C, Heckman J (1982) Models for the analysis of labor force dynamics. In. Rhodes G, Basmann R (eds) Advances in econometrics. JAI Press, Greenwich, CT, pp 65–95

    Google Scholar 

  • Flinn C, Heckman (1983) The likelihood-function for the multistate-multiepisode model in models for the analysis of labor force dynamics. In: Bassman R, Rhodes G (eds) Advances in econometrics, vol 3. JAI Press, Greenwich, CT, pp 225–231

    Google Scholar 

  • Gini C (1924) Premiers recherches sur la fécondabilité de la femme. Proceedings of International Mathematics Congress, vol 2, pp 889–992

    Google Scholar 

  • Gladh L, Gustafsson S (1981) Labor market policy related to women and employment in Sweden. The swedish country report to the conference on regulation theory of the labor market related to women: International comparison of labor market policy related to women: IIMVP/LMP, Berlin

  • Heckman J (1984) The χ2 goodness of fit statistics for models with parameters estimated from microdata. Econometrica 52(6):1543–1547

    Google Scholar 

  • Heckman J, Sedlacek G (1985) Heterogeneity, aggregation, and market wage functions: An empirical analysis of self-selection in the labor market. J Polit Econ 93:1077–1125

    Google Scholar 

  • Heckman J, Singer B (1984) A method for minimizing the impact of distributional assumptions in econometric models for duration data. Econometrica 52:271–320

    Google Scholar 

  • Heckman J, Singer B (1985) Social science duration analysis. In: Heckman J, Singer B (eds) Longitudinal analysis of labor market data. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 39–110

    Google Scholar 

  • Heckman J, Walker J (1987a) Using goodness of fit and other criteria to choose among competing duration models: A case study of Hutterite data. In: Clogg C (ed) Sociological methodology, 1987. American Sociological Association, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  • Heckman J, Walker J (1990a) Economic model of fertility dynamics: A study of Swedish fertility. In: Schultz P (ed) Research in population economics, vol 7. JAI Press, Greenwich, CT (in press)

    Google Scholar 

  • Heckman J, Walker J (1990b) The relationship between wages and income and the timing and spacing of births: Evidence from Swedish longitudinal data. Econometrica (in press)

  • Heckman J, Walker J (1990c) Estimating fecundability from data on waiting time to first conception. J Am Statist Assoc 85(410):283–294

    Google Scholar 

  • Heckman J, Hotz J, Walker J (1985) New evidence on the timing and spacing of births. Am Econ Rev 75(2):179–184

    Google Scholar 

  • Hoem J (1985) Weighting, misclassification and other issues in the analysis of survey samples of life histories. In: Heckman J, Singer B (eds) Longitudinal analysis of labor market data. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 249–293

    Google Scholar 

  • Hoem J, Rennermalm B (1985) Modern family initiation in Sweden: Experience of women born between 1936 and 1960. Eur J Popul 1(1):81–112

    Google Scholar 

  • Honoré B (1987) Identification and estimation of econometric duration models. Unpublished Ph D dissertation, University of Chicago

  • Menken J (1975) Estimating fecundability. Unpublished Ph D Thesis, Department of Sociology, Princeton University

  • Rodriguez G et al. (1984) A comparative analysis of the determinants of birth intervals. Comparative Studies, No 30. World Fertility Survey, London

    Google Scholar 

  • Schwarz G (1978) Estimating the dimension of a model. Ann Statist 6(2):461–464

    Google Scholar 

  • Sheps M (1965) An analysis of reproductive patterns in an American isolate. Popul Stud 19(1):65–80

    Google Scholar 

  • Sheps M, Menken J (1973) Mathematical models of conception and birth. University of Chicago Press, Chicago

    Google Scholar 

  • Walker J (1986) The timing and spacing of births in Sweden. Unpublished Ph D Thesis, University of Chicago

  • Wilkinson M (1973) An econometric analysis of fertility in Sweden, 1870–1965. Econometrica 41(4):633–642

    Google Scholar 

  • Yashin A, Arjas E (1988) A note on random intensities and conditional survivor functions. J Appl Probab 25:630–635

    Google Scholar 

  • Yi KM, Walker J, Honoré B (1987) CTM: A user's guide. Unpublished manuscript. NORC, University of Chicago

  • Ermisch J (1988) Economic influences on birth rates. Natl Inst Econ Rev 7:71–81

    Google Scholar 

  • Groot W, Pott-Buter, Hettie A (1990) The timing of maternity in the Netherlands. Research Memorandum 9007, Department of Economics, University of Amsterdam

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Additional information

This research was supported by NIH Grant No. HD-19226 to NORC. We have benefited from the comments of Elja Arjas and Ricardo Barros. This paper was presented at an IUSSP Conference in Paris, France, in March 1988, and as an invited lecture at the Fourth ESPE Meetings in Istanbul, Turkey, June, 1990. This paper is one part of a trilogy. Heckman and Walker (1990a) presents a succinct summary of the main economic results. Heckman and Walker (1990b) presents a more complete discussion of the empirical results. This paper presents a more purely demographic discussion.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Heckman, J.J., Walker, J.R. The third birth in Sweden. J Popul Econ 3, 235–275 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00179336

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00179336

Keywords

  • Transition Rate
  • Unify Framework
  • General Methodology
  • Fertility Model
  • Recent Cohort