A study on policies and practices in selected countries that encourage childbirth: the case of Sweden
AbstractSwedish family policies are not directly aimed at encouraging childbirth. Their main goal has rather been to support women’s labour-force participation and to promote gender equality. The focus is to strengthen individuals so that they are able to pursue their family and occupational tracks without being too strongly dependent on other individuals. The reconciliation of family and working life of women has been facilitated by (i) individual taxation, which makes it less attractive for couples to pursue gendered segregation of work and care, (ii) an income-replacement based parental-leave system, which gives women incentives to establish themselves in the labour market before considering childbirth, and (iii) subsidized child-care, which allows women to return to work after parental leave. Fertility has fluctuated during recent decades but, as in the other Nordic countries with a similar welfare-state setup, it has stayed well above the European average. The Swedish context clearly is conducive to such “highest-low” fertility. In this study, I show that institutional factors seem to be far more decisive than cultural ones in shaping childbearing behaviour, and demonstrate some specific impacts of family policies on childbearing dynamics.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its series MPIDR Working Papers with number WP-2005-005.
Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2005
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
- Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General
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- Francesco C. Billari & Hans-Peter Kohler, 2002. "Patterns of lowest-low fertility in Europe," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2002-040, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
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- Jan M. Hoem, 2005. "Why does Sweden have such high fertility?," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2005-009, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
- Tomas Kögel, 2006. "Swedish Family Policy, Fertility and Female Wages," Discussion Paper Series 2006_7, Department of Economics, Loughborough University.
- Jan M. Hoem, 2008. "Overview Chapter 8: The impact of public policies on European fertility," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(10), pages 249-260, July.
- Gunnar Andersson & Kirk Scott, 2007. "Childbearing dynamics of couples in a universalistic welfare state," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 17(30), pages 897-938, December.
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