A theory of the value of children

Debra Friedman, Michael Hechter, Satoshi Kanazawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

349 Scopus citations


This paper uses a non-standard value assumption-uncertainty reduction-to explain parenthood. We begin by reviewing the inadequacies of normative and standard rational choice explanations of shifts in fertility behavior. Then we propose a theory of the value of children based on the uncertainty-reduction assumption. Next we generate a range of hypotheses that follow both from this assumption and from a subsidiary assumption of marital solidarity enhancement. Finally, we explore the extent to which implications based on these new ideas are supported by the relevant empirical literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-401
Number of pages27
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography


Dive into the research topics of 'A theory of the value of children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this