A Theory of Child Adoption

12 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2012

See all articles by Dirk Bethmann

Dirk Bethmann

Queensland University of Technology - School of Economics and Finance

Michael Kvasnicka

RWI Essen (Berlin Office)


Women can bear own children or adopt them. Extending economic theories of fertility, we provide a first theoretical treatment of the demand for adoption. We show that the propensity to adopt a child increases in the degree of own altruism, infertility, relatedness to the child, costs of own child birth, and any adoption-specific monetary return that is received net of the costs of adopting the child. Our model makes several testable predictions which receive empirical support. These include a higher propensity to adopt among infertile adults, relatives, women with high earnings potential, and celebrities.

Keywords: children, fertility, demand for adoption, adoption, altruism

JEL Classification: J12, J13, D02

Suggested Citation

Bethmann, Dirk and Kvasnicka, Michael, A Theory of Child Adoption. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6689, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2101976 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2101976

Dirk Bethmann (Contact Author)

Queensland University of Technology - School of Economics and Finance ( email )

GPO Box 2434
2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4001

Michael Kvasnicka

RWI Essen (Berlin Office) ( email )

Hohenzollernstr. 1-3
Berlin, 45128

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