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#14913460
One Degree wrote:
I think it may be student debt. If you put people in debt right away, it reduces their urge to reproduce. Debt seems to be the main difference in ‘developed’ countries from undeveloped.

Can't be student debt, as in most European countries tertiary education is free and they have some of the lowest birth rates. I don't think most young people in Europe have any debt, but if they do it's most likely a mortgage. Overall, I don't buy the idea that people don't have enough money or too much debt to have kids. In developed countries it's the poorest who have the highest birth rates after all (although in some countries they may be second to the very, very rich).

My very speculative theory is that there's always a part of the population which was susceptible to opt out of reproducing or to have only one child if given the opportunity, but this was never an issue because not reproducing was socially unacceptable or very difficult before highly reliable contraception became available. Right now that group is in the process of reducing their share in the population at which point we'll bounce back (just like the rabbits :D ) because there will be a higher share of people who are predisposed to have more kids.
#14913462
Kaiserschmarrn wrote:Can't be student debt, as in most European countries tertiary education is free and they have some of the lowest birth rates. I don't think most young people in Europe have any debt, but if they do it's most likely a mortgage. Overall, I don't buy the idea that people don't have enough money or too much debt to have kids. In developed countries it's the poorest who have the highest birth rates after all (although in some countries they may be second to the very, very rich).

My very speculative theory is that there's always a part of the population which was susceptible to opt out of reproducing or to have only one child if given the opportunity, but this was never an issue because not reproducing was socially unacceptable or very difficult before highly reliable contraception became available. Right now that group is in the process of reducing their share in the population at which point we'll bounce back (just like the rabbits :D ) because there will be a higher share of people who are predisposed to have more kids.


I am American so obviously what happens in America is the real reason. Europeans are just following America’s lead in not having children without actually having a reason. :)
Seriously, I do wonder if the low birth rate is due to the ‘me first’ mentality. Children are seen as a real burden if your individual happiness is the ultimate goal. They are having children later in life as they grow out of the ‘me first’ mentality. Anyway, it is a curious phenomenon.
#14913465
One Degree wrote:th
I am American so obviously what happens in America is the real reason. Europeans are just following America’s lead in not having children without actually having a reason. :)

I suspect that's how the world works for most of us. :)

One Degree wrote:Seriously, I do wonder if the low birth rate is due to the ‘me first’ mentality. Children are seen as a real burden if your individual happiness is the ultimate goal. They are having children later in life as they grow out of the ‘me first’ mentality. Anyway, it is a curious phenomenon.

I agree that's part of it and if I'm right with my theory some people are more susceptible and responsive to that message and general culture than others. The part of the population that is more immune to it will inherit our societies and change them accordingly.

That's unless technological developments make conventional reproduction obsolete or makes it possible for us to design humans who are more likely to have optimal breeding behaviour. Which, after having taken this thread way off topic, at least brings me back to China which would probably be among the first countries to adopt such technologies.
#14913472
Mainstream economics says children are an inferior good. An inferior good is one for which consumption decreases as income rises.

I have thought this is misuse and abuse of the concept. But, maybe it isn't.

But then, it is a confined outlook. Coincidence can be confused with causality.

It could be the relative cost of children (as A function of real income) tends to be higher for higher income people. If you include opportunity cost, this may be more of a prevalent phenomenon.

This is an explanation which carries implication of social critique and there is an ingrained bias in mainstream economics to avoid such critical explanations. In this way mainstream economics deliberately includes favorable bias toward established power structures. This is an insidious aspect of mainstream economics which is both well known and obvious.
#14914198
Crantag wrote:Mainstream economics says children are an inferior good. An inferior good is one for which consumption decreases as income rises.

I have thought this is misuse and abuse of the concept. But, maybe it isn't.


I never heard of that. In models with endogenous fertility the cost of children is usually measured in time to raise them. Due to opportunity cost raising children is more costly for higher income people, while the cost of an inferior good would stay the same.

Either way, such models are hardly "mainstream" and I think they're a bit silly. By the way, it was Marx who assumed workers can be produced like cattle. Why don't you criticize Marxism instead.
#14914268
Rugoz wrote:I never heard of that. In models with endogenous fertility the cost of children is usually measured in time to raise them. Due to opportunity cost raising children is more costly for higher income people, while the cost of an inferior good would stay the same.

Either way, such models are hardly "mainstream" and I think they're a bit silly. By the way, it was Marx who assumed workers can be produced like cattle. Why don't you criticize Marxism instead.

Why don't you criticize Marxism if you have something to criticize, and leave me to criticize whatever the fuck I want.

Deal?

It's funny that you snipped a quote and then you wrote exactly what I surmised and you neglected to quote, while passing that off as the conventional mainstream view. Mind you, I came up with that entirely on my own, but its also based on neoclassical economic logic.

That you have never heard of what I said only means you have never read the same mainstream material I have. Big fucking whoop.

However I'm glad I got you to expose yourself as a reactionary. That was handy.
#14914293
Crantag wrote:Why don't you criticize Marxism if you have something to criticize, and leave me to criticize whatever the fuck I want.

Deal?


What's your problem? Point is, if you want to endogenize fertility you have to come up with some assumptions. Marx did, modern theorists do it as well.

Crantag wrote:It's funny that you snipped a quote and then you wrote exactly what I surmised and you neglected to quote, while passing that off as the conventional mainstream view. Mind you, I came up with that entirely on my own, but its also based on neoclassical economic logic.


I wasn't sure you meant the same. But I apologize for "snipping a quote".

Crantag wrote:That you have never heard of what I said only means you have never read the same mainstream material I have. Big fucking whoop.


There's a tendency on Pofo for people to read some shit on the internet, declare it "mainstream economics" and then rant against it. How biased it is supposed to be yadda yadda yadda.

As "mainstream" I would for example consider the following work, which is 58 years old, and no, it doesn't consider children to be inferior goods (not surprising since it's a rather implausible assumption).

An Economic Analysis of Fertility

Can you point me to a recent often-cited publication in a respectable journal (my definition of "mainstream") that treats children as an inferior good?

Crantag wrote:However I'm glad I got you to expose yourself as a reactionary. That was handy.


*facepalm*
#14914301
I'll criticize mainstream economics every chance I get and as loudly as I like. You can facepalm all you Like, what I said was fare.

I read that bit in a macroeconomics textbook.

I have spent plenty of time around neoclascical economics professors and read a lot of neoclassical writing. I still use it where I find it useful. I stand by everything I wrote.

What you posted was entirely reactionary.

No need to search for common ground. But, you do have good economics knowledge and understanding and I appreciate plenty of what you write.
#14914956
Crantag wrote:I read that bit in a macroeconomics textbook.


Then I suppose the author was sloppy.

Here's a good literature review from 1997: The Economic Theory of Fertility Over Three Decades (if you have access).

I quote:

One of the economic puzzles about the historical
experience of the European demographic transition
was why fertility fell as incomes increased. At first
glance this suggested that the demand for child-services
was inversely related to income, making it
'an "inferior good" with a low or even negative
income-elasticity of demand'. (Such goods are
'inferior' in the sense that they are chosen only
when income is very low and all competing goods
exceed the consumer's budget constraint. If income
increases, the other 'superior goods' are chosen
instead.) This seemed counter-intuitive to Becker
since he assumed children were a unique asset with
no close substitutes. He solved this conceptual
problem by adding the notion of 'child quality'
to the model and this concept lies at the heart of all
his subsequent theorizing. The demand is not for
children, but for child-services, the flow of utilities
produced for the parents by their offspring. But
total child-services equals number of children times
an average quality per child. Child-quality is elastic
with respect to income, while quantity is not. As
income has increased, demand for child-services
has, indeed, risen when the quality dimension is
added, even though the number of children
demanded has fallen.

...

This is a rough outline of the Becker/Chicago
demand theory of fertility. It has become dominant
because of its rigour, its elegance and its simplicity.
It is what most people understand when they write
of the 'economic approach' to fertility.
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