Does the number of pregnancies predict economic crises?

According to this study, reductions in the birth rate could anticipate periods of economic crisis

Does the number of pregnancies predict economic crises?

The National Bureau of Economic Research of the United States recently conducted a study that suggests that a reduction in the number of pregnancies is a new factor to consider when predicting economic crises.

Professors Daniel Hungerman, Kasey Buckles, of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, and Steven Lugauer, University of Kentucky, ensure that the birth rate falls months before other signs of recession are visible.

The authors of the report "Is fertility a prominent economic indicator?", published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, studied more than 100 million births in that country over a period of nearly 20 years; they also incorporated data abortions, both natural and induced. They concluded that during the six months prior to the arrival of the last three economic crises in the United States the number of pregnancies decreased dramatically.

An example of this occurred in the first half of 2006, when the annual rate of increase fertility, but later that same year began to fall sharply, which coincided with the time when stock markets reached record highs. However, half a year later, the economy went into recession with the financial crisis.

The same pattern was identified when the data relating to the early years of this century and early 90's were analyzed, when the United States suffered economic crises.

Another example of this was seen in 2007, when a survey was conducted for business leaders and the results showed that they were optimistic about the future, although shortly after it was discovered that the recession had already begun. At the same time, the number of pregnancies had already begun to fall months prior; the drop came several quarters before the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

The study shows that there is also a relationship between the number of pregnancies and the magnitude of the economic crisis, because before the deep recession of 2007 fertility rates fell in a very rapid manner (about four percentage points), compared to crisis of the early 90s and 2000s.

Hungerman, one of the researchers of the study, explained that "The nature of each crisis is different, so the conversation stays may be different, but I think people talk about their future when they try to have a baby and, consequently, seem to do a great job thinking". On the other hand, Kasey Buckles, professor at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and co-author of the study, said that: "One way to interpret this is that the decision to have a child often reflects the level of optimism we have about the future".

Although it is not easy to record real-time pregnancies, the authors of the research suggest reviewing various data such as sales of products related to pregnancy or fertility to determine whether or not an economic crisis approaches.


Latin American Post | Andrea del Pilar Riaño Rojas

Copy edited by Laura Rueda Rocha

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