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Italy: Delayed adaptation of social institutions to changes in family behaviour

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Author Info

  • Alessandra De Rose

    (Università di Roma “La Sapienza")

  • Filomena Racioppi

    (Università di Roma “La Sapienza")

  • Anna Laura Zanatta

    (Università di Roma “La Sapienza")

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    Abstract

    Considering its very low fertility and high age at childbearing, Italy stands alone in the European context and can hardly be compared with other countries, even those in the Southern region. The fertility decline occurred without any radical change in family formation. Individuals still choose (religious) marriage for leaving their parental home and rates of marital dissolution and subsequent step-family formation are low. Marriage is being postponed and fewer people marry. The behaviours of young people are particularly alarming. There is a delay in all life cycle stages: end of education, entry into the labour market, exit from the parental family, entry into union, and managing an independent household. Changes in family formation and childbearing are constrained and slowed down by a substantial delay (or even failure) with which the institutional and cultural framework has adapted to changes in economic and social conditions, in particular to the growth of the service sector, the increase in female employment and the female level of education. In a Catholic country that has been led for almost half a century by a political party with a Catholic ideology, the paucity of attention to childhood and youth seems incomprehensible. Social policies focus on marriage-based families already formed and on the phases of life related to pregnancy, delivery, and the first months of a newborn’s life, while forming a family and childbearing choices are considered private affairs and neglected.

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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 19 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 19 (July)
    Pages: 665-704

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    Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:19:y:2008:i:19

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

    Related research

    Keywords: adaptations; childbearing; Europe; family; fertility; Italy;

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    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Chiara Saraceno, 2000. "Italian Families Under Economic Stress: The Impact of Social Policies," LABOUR, CEIS, CEIS, vol. 14(1), pages 161-183, 03.
    2. 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).
    3. Daniela Del Boca & Silvia Pasqua & Chiara Pronzato, 2004. "Employment and Fertility Decisions in Italy, France and the U.K," CHILD Working Papers, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY wp08_04, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
    4. Francesco C. Billari & Hans-Peter Kohler, 2002. "Patterns of lowest-low fertility in Europe," MPIDR Working Papers, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany WP-2002-040, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    5. Francesco C. Billari & Chris Wilson, 2001. "Convergence towards diversity? Cohort dynamics in the transition to adulthood in contemporary Western Europe," MPIDR Working Papers, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany WP-2001-039, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    6. Peter McDonald, 2000. "Gender Equity in Theories of Fertility Transition," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., The Population Council, Inc., vol. 26(3), pages 427-439.
    7. Henriette Engelhardt & Alexia Prskawetz, 2002. "On the changing correlation between fertility and female employment over space and time," MPIDR Working Papers, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany WP-2002-052, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
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    Cited by:
    1. Anna Matysiak & Daniele Vignoli, 2009. "Finding the "right moment" for the first baby to come: a comparison between Italy and Poland," MPIDR Working Papers, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany WP-2009-011, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    2. Francesca Fiori & Francesca Rinesi & Antonella Pinnelli & Sabrina Prati, 2013. "Economic Insecurity and the Fertility Intentions of Italian Women with One Child," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 373-413, June.
    3. Nataliia Levchuk & Brienna Perelli-Harris, 2009. "Declining fertility in Ukraine: what is the role of abortion and contraception?," MPIDR Working Papers, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany WP-2009-045, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    4. Sieds, 2011. "Complete Volume LXV n.1 2011," RIEDS - Rivista Italiana di Economia, Demografia e Statistica - Italian Review of Economics, Demography and Statistics, SIEDS Societa' Italiana di Economia Demografia e Statistica, vol. 0(1), pages 1-181.
    5. Monika Mynarska & Anna Matysiak & Anna Rybiñska & Valentina Tocchioni & Daniele Vignoli, 2013. "Diverse Paths into Childlessness over the Life Course," Working Papers, Institute of Statistics and Demography, Warsaw School of Economics 58, Institute of Statistics and Demography, Warsaw School of Economics.
    6. Tomas Frejka, 2008. "Overview Chapter 5: Determinants of family formation and childbearing during the societal transition in Central and Eastern Europe," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(7), pages 139-170, July.
    7. Tomas Sobotka, 2008. "Overview Chapter 6: The diverse faces of the Second Demographic Transition in Europe," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(8), pages 171-224, July.

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