Essays on Theory, Collective Action and Social Order
This paper uses a non-standard value assumption – uncertainty reduction – to explain parenthood. We begin by reviewing the inadequacies of normative and standard rational choice explanations of shifts in fertility behavior. Then we propose a theory of the value of children based on the uncertainty-reduction assumption. Next we generate a range of hypotheses that follow both from this assumption and from a subsidiary assumption of marital solidarity enhancement. Finally, we explore the extent to which implications based on these new ideas are supported by the relevant empirical literature.
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