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The illusion of stable preferences over major life decisions

Author: Maximilian W Mueller; Joan Hamory Hicks; Jennifer Johnson-Hanks; Edward Miguel; National Bureau of Economic Research,
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : National Bureau of Economic Research, 2019.
Series: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 25844.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
We examine the stability of preferences over time using panel data from Kenya on fertility intentions, realizations, and recall of intentions. We find that desired fertility is very unstable, but that most people perceive their desires to be stable. Under hypothetical scenarios, few expect their desired fertility to increase over time. Moreover, when asked to recall past intentions, most respondents report  Read more...
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Details

Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Maximilian W Mueller; Joan Hamory Hicks; Jennifer Johnson-Hanks; Edward Miguel; National Bureau of Economic Research,
OCLC Number: 1101994832
Notes: "May 2019"
Description: 1 online resource (35 pages) : illustrations.
Series Title: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 25844.
Responsibility: Maximilian W. Mueller, Joan Hamory Hicks, Jennifer Johnson-Hanks, Edward Miguel.

Abstract:

We examine the stability of preferences over time using panel data from Kenya on fertility intentions, realizations, and recall of intentions. We find that desired fertility is very unstable, but that most people perceive their desires to be stable. Under hypothetical scenarios, few expect their desired fertility to increase over time. Moreover, when asked to recall past intentions, most respondents report previously wanting exactly as many children as they desire today. Biased recall of preferences over a major life decision could have important implications for measuring excess fertility, the evolution of norms, and the perceived need for family planning programs.

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