Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #342

A Theory of Child Adoption

by Dirk Bethmann and Michael Kvasnicka

RWI, 06/2012, 12 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-395-5 DOI: 10.4419/86788395



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.

JEL-Classification: J12, J13, D02

Keywords: Adoption; demand for adoption; fertility; children; altruism