Who takes care of the children? The quantity-quality model revisited

  • Michael Lundholm
  • Henry Ohlsson
Part of the Population Economics book series (POPULATION)


We study the Becker and Lewis (1973) quantity-quality model of children adding an explicit child care time constraint for parents. Parents can take care of the children themselves or purchase day care. Our results are: (i) If there only is own care, a quantity-quality trade-off, different from that of Becker and Lewis (1973), arises. The income effect on fertility is positive if child quantity is a closer complement than child quality to the consumption of goods. (ii) If, instead, there is a combination of purchased and own care, the effect of income on fertility is ambiguous, even if quantity of children is a normal good in the standard sense. This is the Becker and Lewis (1973) result extended to a situation with a binding child care time constraint. The conclusion is that the Becker and Lewis (1973) result holds as long as at least some child care is purchased.

Key words

Fertility child care quantity-quality trade-off 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Lundholm
    • 1
  • Henry Ohlsson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsGöteborg UniversityGöteborgSweden

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