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Using intentions to predict fertility

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 March 2021

Johannes Norling*
Department of Economics, Mount Holyoke College, 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA 01075, USA
Corresponding author. E-mail:
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On average, childless women observed by the Panel Study of Income Dynamics report that they intend to have more children than they actually have. A collection of intentions that record only whether respondents intend to have another child can more accurately predict the number of children they have. Errors in the formation of intentions are not required to explain this finding. Rather, if intentions record a survey respondent's most likely predicted number of children, then the average of these intentions does not necessarily equal average actual fertility, even if intentions are formed using rational expectations.

Research Paper
Copyright © Université catholique de Louvain 2021

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