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This chapter of the Handbook of Population and Family Economics surveys the intellectual development and empirical implications of the literature on the economics of fertility as it applies to fertility behavior in developed economies. From both static and dynamic perspectives, the paper reviews the relevant theory and empirical work. The theoretical discussion emphasizes the attempt to explain household fertility behavior in terms of the choice-theoretic framework of neoclassical economics. The empirical discussion focuses on strategies for approaching the identification problem in estimating the relations implied by the theory — the effects on fertility of exogenous changes in prices, income, and technology.

Originally published in: Handbook of Population and Family Economics, M. Rosenzweig and O. Stark, eds., Amsterdam, Netherlands: North-Holland, pp. 275-347.

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