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High development and fertility: fertility at older reproductive ages and gender equality explain the positive link

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  • Mikko Myrskyla
  • Hans-Peter Kohler
  • Francesco C. Billari

Abstract

A fundamental switch in the fertility—development relationship has occurred so that among highly developed countries, further socioeconomic development may reverse the declining fertility trend. Here we shed light on the mechanisms underlying this reversal by analyzing the links between development and age and cohort patterns of fertility, as well as the role of gender equality. Using data from 1975 to 2008 for over 100 countries, we show that the reversal exists both in a period and a cohort perspective and is mainly driven by increasing older reproductive-age fertility. We also show that the positive impact of development on fertility in high-development countries is conditional on gender equality: countries ranking high in development as measured by health, income, and education but low in gender equality continue to experience declining fertility. Our findings suggest that gender equality is crucial for countries wishing to reap the fertility dividend of high development.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi in its series Working Papers with number 049.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:don:donwpa:049

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Related research

Keywords: low fertility; socioeconomic development; Human Development Index; gender equality;

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References

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  1. Olivier Thévenon, 2011. "Family Policies in OECD Countries: A Comparative Analysis," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 37(1), pages 57-87, 03.
  2. Anne Gauthier, 2007. "The impact of family policies on fertility in industrialized countries: a review of the literature," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 323-346, June.
  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. Ron Lesthaeghe, 2010. "The Unfolding Story of the Second Demographic Transition," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 36(2), pages 211-251.
  5. de la CROIX, David & VANDER DONCKT, Marie, . "Would empowering women initiate the demographic transition in least developed countries?," CORE Discussion Papers RP -2290, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  6. Ron Lesthaeghe & Paul Willems, 1999. "Is Low Fertility a Temporary Phenomenon in the European Union?," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 25(2), pages 211-228.
  7. Tomas Frejka & Gérard Calot, 2001. "Cohort Reproductive Patterns in Low-Fertility Countries," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 27(1), pages 103-132.
  8. Ronald Lee, 2003. "The Demographic Transition: Three Centuries of Fundamental Change," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 167-190, Fall.
  9. Chris Wilson, 2011. "Understanding Global Demographic Convergence since 1950," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 37(2), pages 375-388, 06.
  10. Angela Luci & Olivier Thévenon, 2010. "Does economic development drive the fertility rebound in oecd countries ?," Working Papers 167, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED).
  11. 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.
  12. Peter McDonald, 2000. "Gender Equity in Theories of Fertility Transition," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 26(3), pages 427-439.
  13. Gerda Neyer & Gunnar Andersson, 2008. "Consequences of Family Policies on Childbearing Behavior: Effects or Artifacts?," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 34(4), pages 699-724.
  14. Fumitaka Furuoka, 2010. "The Fertility-Development Relationship in the United States: New Evidence from Threshold Regression Analysis," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 30(3), pages 1808-1822.
  15. John Bryant, 2007. "Theories of Fertility Decline and the Evidence from Development Indicators," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 33(1), pages 101-127.
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Cited by:
  1. Erich Striessnig & Wolfgang Lutz, 2013. "Can below-replacement fertility be desirable?," Empirica, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 409-425, August.
  2. Lars Dommermuth & Bryndl Hohmann-Marriott & Trude Lappegård, 2013. "Gender equality in the family and childbearing," Discussion Papers 759, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  3. Arnstein Aassve & Francesco Billari & Léa Pessin, 2012. "Trust and fertility dynamics," Working Papers 055, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
  4. Frans J. Willekens, 2014. "Demographic transitions in Europe and the world," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2014-004, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.

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