Journal of Monetary Economics, Volume 129, July 2022 (lead article)

Staying at Home: Mobility Effects of COVID-19

with Sam Engle and John Stromme

Covid Economics: Vetted and Real-Time Papers, Issue 4, 86-102, April 2020

County-level data, VoxEU article

Working Papers & Work in Progress

Abstract: This paper develops a heterogeneous-agent overlapping generations model to study the macroeconomic consequences of family policies. The model integrates the quantity-quality trade-off, a multi-period demographic structure, and childcare choices. I calibrate the model to U.S. data and estimate the fertility elasticities using the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend (APFD). I find that raising aggregate fertility to the replacement level requires a $30,000 cash reward for childbirth, but such a policy reduces average human capital and intergenerational mobility. Nevertheless, average well-being rises by 1.6% in the long run as the old-age dependency ratio drops, requiring lower taxes to sustain retirement benefits. Compared with cash rewards, in-kind benefits are less cost-effective in raising fertility but have other advantages: subsidized childcare encourages parents to work, while expansions of public education improve children's human capital and intergenerational mobility.

Bounding Fertility Elasticities

Abstract: I propose a technique for bounding the magnitude of fertility responses to financial incentives. Under mild assumptions, I show that raising the fertility rate by 0.1 children per woman in the United States in 2010 requires the cost of children to fall by $7,514 to $35,966. This bound is tighter than the range provided by meta-analyses of past estimates and is simple to compute for a different country and year. I also discuss the implications of this bound for models with and without endogenous fertility choices.

A Decomposition of Demographic Transitions

Increasing China's Fertility Rate: Policy Tools and Aggregate Outcomes

with Alan Yang