Abstract

Utilizing panel data on families, estimates are made of the effects of children on asset accumulation, asset composition, consumption, and family income. Young children are found to depress savings for young families but to increase savings for marriages of duration greater than five years. The principal channel through which children act to reduce savings is the decline in female earnings associated with the child-induced withdrawal of wives from the labor force. Family consumption actually decreases with the birth of a child, but this reduction is insufficient, for young families, to offset the fall in income. For families in which the wife does not work the estimates suggest that savings may actually increase with children.

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