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Gender equity and fertility intentions in Italy and the Netherlands

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Author Info

  • Melinda Mills

    (University of Groningen)

  • Katia Begall

    (Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt)

  • Letizia Mencarini

    (University of Turin)

  • Maria Letizia Tanturri

    (University of Pavia)

Abstract

Fertility levels have fallen drastically in most industrialized countries. Diverse theoretical and empirical frameworks have had difficulty in explaining these unprecedented low levels of fertility. More recently, however, attention has turned from classic explanations, such as women’s increased labour market participation, to gender equity as the essential link to understand this phenomenon. The increase in women’s labour market participation did not prompt an increase in men’s domestic duties, which is often referred to women’s ‘dual burden’ or ‘second shift’. Institutions and policies within countries also facilitate or constrain the combination of women’s employment with fertility. This paper provides an empirical test of gender equity theory by examining whether the unequal division of household labour leads to lower fertility intentions of women in different institutional contexts. Italy constitutes a case of high gender inequity, low female labour market participation and the lowest-low fertility. The Netherlands has moderate to low gender inequity, high part-time female labour market participation and comparatively higher fertility. Using data from the 2003 Italian Multipurpose Survey - Family and Social Actors and the 2004/5 Dutch sample from the European Social Survey, a series of logistic regression models test this theory. A central finding is that the unequal division of household labour only has a significant impact on women’s fertility intentions when they already carry the load of high paid work hours or children, a finding that is particularly significant for working women in Italy.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its journal Demographic Research.

Volume (Year): 18 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 1-26

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Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:18:y:2008:i:1

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Web page: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/

Related research

Keywords: fertility; fertility intentions; gender; paid and unpaid work;

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References

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  1. Daniela Del Boca & Daniela Vuri, 2007. "The mismatch between employment and child care in Italy: the impact of rationing," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 805-832, October.
  2. Karsten Hank & Michaela Kreyenfeld, 2000. "Does the availability of childcare influence the employment of mothers? Findings from western Germany," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2000-003, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  3. Peter Mcdonald, 2006. "Low Fertility and the State: The Efficacy of Policy," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 32(3), pages 485-510.
  4. Del Boca, Daniela, 2002. "The Effect of Child Care and Part Time Opportunities on Participation and Fertility Decisions in Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 427, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Letizia Mencarini & Maria Letizia Tanturri, 2006. "High Fertility or Childlessness: Micro-Level Determinants of Reproductive Behaviour in Italy," Population (english edition), Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED), vol. 61(4), pages 389-415.
  6. Anxo, Dominique & Flood, Lennart & Mencarini, Letizia & Pailhé, Ariane & Solaz, Anne & Tanturri, Maria Letizia, 2007. "Time Allocation between Work and Family over the Life-Cycle: A Comparative Gender Analysis of Italy, France, Sweden and the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 3193, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Maria Letizia Tanturri & Letizia Mencarini, 2008. "Childless or Childfree? Paths to Voluntary Childlessness in Italy," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 34(1), pages 51-77.
  8. Hans-Peter Kohler & Francesco C. Billari & José Antonio Ortega, 2002. "The Emergence of Lowest-Low Fertility in Europe During the 1990s," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(4), pages 641-680.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Lars Dommermuth & Bryndl Hohmann-Marriott & Trude Lappegård, 2013. "Gender equality in the family and childbearing," Discussion Papers 759, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  2. Marie-Thérèse Letablier & Anne Salles, 2013. "Labour market uncertainties for the young workforce in France and Germany : Implications for family formation and fertility," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 13004, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  3. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00786291 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Frances Goldscheider & Eva Bernhardt & Maria Brandén, 2013. "Domestic gender equality and childbearing in Sweden," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 29(40), pages 1097-1126, December.
  5. Ina Berninger & Bernd Weiß & Michael Wagner, 2011. "On the links between employment, partnership quality, and the desire to have a first child," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 24(24), pages 579-610, April.
  6. Marie-Thérèse Letablier & Anne Salles, 2012. "Labour market uncertainties for the young workforce in France and Germany : implications for family formation and fertily," Working Papers 180, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED).
  7. Wiemer Salverda & Christina Haas & Marloes Graaf-zijl & Bram Lancee & Natascha Notten & Tahnee Ooms, 2013. "GINI Country Report: Growing Inequalities and their Impacts in the Netherlands," GINI Country Reports netherlands, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
  8. Laura Cavalli & Alessandro Bucciol & Paolo Pertile & Veronica Polin & Nicola Sartor & Alessandro Sommacal, 2012. "Modelling life-course decisions for the analysis of interpersonal and intrapersonal redistribution," Working Papers 25/2012, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
  9. David De Wachter & Karel Neels, 2011. "Educational differentials in fertility intentions and outcomes: family formation in Flanders in the early 1990s," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 9(1), pages 227-258.
  10. Marie-Thérèse Letablier & Anne Salles, 2013. "Labour market uncertainties for the young workforce in France and Germany: Implications for family formation and fertility," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00786291, HAL.

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