Policies related to aging often seek to support wellbeing among individuals who may have lower human capital or ability to participate in the labor force and declining financial assets. The asymmetric aging of the reproductive system may have important distributional impacts on older individuals, leading to older women having fewer avenues for financial support (since they may no longer be considered eligible marriage partners). By studying a policy that aimed to ameliorate the impact of aging on women’s ability to have children through access to IVF and other medical interventions, this project contributes to measuring the scope for policymakers to address the gender-specific impacts of aging, and, in particular, how such policies may lead to women making different decisions earlier in life, due to the later-life insurance provided by access to assisted reproduction technologies.
The female reproductive system declines sharply before other aging-related health issues become prevalent; however, there has been little study to date on the economic impact of this male-female aging asymmetry. This project examines fecundity as “reproductive capital,” a depreciating asset that influences one’s financial well-being, and studies what happens when women lose this asset, and the impact of policies that slow its rate of depreciation. In particular, this project will examine the impact of a policy in Israel to make in vitro fertilization free on women’s educational investments, career outcomes, and marriage patterns.