Monday, September 10, 2012

Make babies, not war

I am currently reading John Irving's novel "Last night in Twisted River" where I came upon "Kennedy fathers": "in March 1963, President Kennedy had issued an executive order expanding paternity deferment. ... Having a kid could get you out of the war".

This, I assume, would make for a nice empirical project: analyze birth rates for different cohorts (Nixon put an end to this type of avoiding the war in 1970). I expect to see an increase in fertility, driven by young couples (men), attempting to avoid the draft.

However, Andrea Kutinova did already do this in her article "Paternity derferments..." and she found--surprise, surprise!--a huge response of the birth rate: "the calculated conservative increase in the number of first births by 15,532 in June and August 1966 represents more than 7% of the total number of first deliveries in those 2 mo[nths]."

What do we expect about the lifes of those babies, in comparison to those born before/after the paternity deferment? Now, this would make for an interesting research project...

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