Schwandt’s Research Finds Pandemic ‘Baby Bump’

Schwandt’s Research Finds Pandemic ‘Baby Bump’

adorable yawning baby with a teddy bearDo you know someone who recently had a baby? It's part of a trend, researchers say. Working from home may have boosted fertility among college-educated women, according to a new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper co-authored by Northwestern University economist Hannes Schwandt.

The subtle “baby bump” in the US caught researchers by surprise because early forecasts predicted a crash in birth rates at the beginning of the pandemic, Emily Peck wrote in Axios. The quick economic recovery and the rise of remote work may have changed the trajectory, the authors say.

"It's the first recession where we actually see birth rates go up," Schwandt told Axios.

An economist who studies the relationships between health, wealth, and overall well-being, Schwandt is known for spotlighting important societal trends. His research has looked at everything from the impact of air pollution on fetal development to the mental health effects of school shootings and the effects of unemployment on fertility.

Schwandt, associate professor of human development and social policy, coauthored the paper with Martha Bailey of the University of California Los Angeles and Janet Currie of Princeton.

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By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 10/26/22