Free DP Download 19 November 2021 - The Old-Age Security Motive for Fertility: Evidence from the Extension of Social Pensions in Namibia

Friday, November 19, 2021

Mathilde Godard, Pauline Rossi CEPR Discussion Paper No. 16358 | July 2021


The old-age security motive for fertility postulates that people's needs for old-age support raise the demand for children. We exploit the extension of social pensions in Namibia during the nineties to provide a quasi-experimental quantification of this widespread idea. The reform eliminated inequalities in pension coverage and benefits across regions and ethnic groups. Combining differences in pre-reform pensions and differences in exposure across cohorts, we show that pensions substantially reduce fertility, especially in late reproductive life. The results suggest that improving social protection for the elderly could go a long way in fostering fertility decline in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

You can also listen to a podcast where Pauline Rossi tells Tim Phillips about this research.

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