Private incentives and social interactions: Fertility puzzles in Israel

Charles F. Manski, Joram Mayshar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


This paper explores how private and social incentives for fertility may have combined to produce the complex fertility pattern observed in Israel in the past half-century. Fertility has declined within some ethnic-religious groups, moderately increased in others, and parts of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish population have experienced a reverse fertility transition, in which childbearing has increased rapidly and substantially. We present a theoretical analysis of the social dynamics of fertility that shows how private preferences, preferences for conformity to social norms in childbearing, and piecewise linear child allowances could have combined to yield such a complex fertility pattern. We then explain the identification problem that makes it so difficult to infer the actual Israeli fertility process from data on completed fertility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-211
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of the European Economic Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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