Where are the babies? Labour market conditions and fertility in Europe

Alicia Adsera, University of Illinois at Chicago and Population Research Center, University of Chicago

During the last two decades total fertility rates in Europe have plummeted but cross-country differences remain substantial. This paper uses the 1994-2000 European Community Household panel for 13 European countries to study the institutional and economic context in Europe in which these new demographic trends have emerged. Postponement of fertility has been more accused in countries with restrictive employment protection legislation and where economic uncertainty in the form of aggregate persistent unemployment has increased, particularly after the mid-eighties. Maternity occurs earlier in countries with an abundance of stable government employment. Where part-time is widely available, second and third birth transitions are faster. Generous maternity benefits are coupled with fast second births.

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Presented in Session 178: Sustaining replacement fertility: international comparative studies