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Declining Fertility in Europe – An Economic Appraisal

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  • Honekamp, Ivonne

Abstract

Demographic change can be observed throughout Europe. A bulk of literature has focused on ways to mitigate the consequences of ageing by reforming existing institutions of the welfare state. Another way to alleviate the long-run consequences of an ageing population is to re-verse the demographic development by increasing the fertility rate. This is the subject this paper is about. It offers a short review about existing approaches analysing the factors which influence individual’s decision to have children. Firstly, an outline of the potential effects of the increasing dependency ratio on the welfare state and economic growth is provided. Spe-cial attention is paid to the development in Germany which is one of the countries most se-verely affected by low fertility. Furthermore, different theoretical approaches are described which attempt to explain why couples choose to have fewer children today. Lastly empirical work is considered which shows how policy changes affect fertility and that those findings are not always in line with economic theory.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/15848/
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 15848.

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Date of creation: Mar 2008
Date of revision: Mar 2008
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:15848

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Related research

Keywords: Fertility; Europe; Demographic change; Ageing;

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  1. Alessandro Cigno & Annalisa Luporini & Anna Pettini, 2004. "Hidden information problems in the design of family allowances," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 645-655, December.
  2. John Ermisch, 1988. "Econometric Analysis of Birth Rate Dynamics in Britain," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(4), pages 563-576.
  3. Folbre, Nancy, 1994. "Children as Public Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 86-90, May.
  4. van Groezen, Bas & Leers, Theo & Meijdam, Lex, 2003. "Social security and endogenous fertility: pensions and child allowances as siamese twins," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 233-251, February.
  5. Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Kreiner, Claus Thustrup, 2001. " Is Declining Productivity Inevitable?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 187-203, September.
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