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Consequences of Family Policies on Childbearing Behavior: Effects or Artifacts?


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  • Gerda Neyer
  • Gunnar Andersson
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    This article argues for a more careful consideration of theoretical and methodological approaches in studies of the effects of public policies, labeled here as family policies, on childbearing behavior. We employ elements of comparative welfare-state research, of the sociology of "constructed categories," and of "the new institutionalism" to demonstrate that investigations into policy effects need to contextualize policies and need to reduce their complexity by focusing on "critical junctures,""space," and "uptake." We argue that the effects of family policies can only be assessed properly if we study their impact on individual behavior. Event-history models applied to individual-level data are the state-of-the-art of such an approach. We use selected empirical studies from Sweden to demonstrate that the type of approach that we advocate prevents us from drawing misleading conclusions. Copyright (c) 2008 The Population Council, Inc..

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by The Population Council, Inc. in its journal Population and Development Review.

    Volume (Year): 34 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 699-724

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:34:y:2008:i:4:p:699-724

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    Cited by:
    1. Karel Neels & David De Wachter, 2010. "Postponement and recuperation of Belgian fertility: how are they related to rising female educational attainment?," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 8(1), pages 77-106.
    2. Sebastian Klüsener & Karel Neels & Michaela Kreyenfeld, 2013. "Social norms, family policies, and fertility trends: insights from a comparative study on the German-speaking region in Belgium," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2013-003, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    3. Mikko Myrskylä & Hans-Peter Kohler & Francesco C. Billari, 2011. "High development and fertility: fertility at older reproductive ages and gender equality explain the positive link," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2011-017, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    4. Frances Goldscheider & Livia Sz. Oláh & Allan Puur, 2010. "Reconciling studies of men’s gender attitudes and fertility," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 22(8), pages 189-198, February.


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