Friday, January 1, 2010

Pro-natalist policies and the downard sloping demand curve for babies

Denmark seems to have found a pro-natalist policy that actually works: fully subsidized IVF.

The latest figures from the country’s fertility databases show that 8 percent of children are born with help from fertility treatment or about 5000 a year. By comparison, 3.5 percent of Norwegian and 2 percent of English children are born as a result of the treatment.

Lone Schmidt, a fertility researcher at University of Copenhagen, said Denmark topped the European rates because of the many fertility clinics here. The clinics are also more accessible, with short waiting lists and have a high quality of treatment, she said.

‘Its got nothing to do with Danes having lower fertility than those in other countries,” Schmidt told Berlingske Tidende, adding it was free for Danish people to receive treatment, unlike in many other countries.

It would be interesting to see a comparison of fully subsidized IVF with some of the other tax and transfer based pro-natalist policies on a $ per baby basis. I suspect that the additional babies induced by IVF also end up in families with higher levels of education and income, which has implications for the social cost-benefit calculation.

That's a free paper idea, folks. Please send me a draft when it is done!

Hat tip: Lars Skipper

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