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Work status and family planning: insights from the Italian puzzle

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  • Sabatini, Fabio

Abstract

This paper uses a dataset built by the author on the basis of raw data taken from different national surveys to carry out an investigation into the socio-economic determinants of couples’ childbearing decisions in Italy. Since having children is in most cases a “couple matter”, the analysis accounts for the characteristics of both the aspiring parents. Our results contradict theoretical predictions according to which the increase in the opportunity cost of motherhood connected to higher female labour participation is responsible for the fall in fertility. On the contrary, the instability of the women’s work status (i.e. their being occasional, precarious, and low-paid workers) reveals to be a significant and strong dissuasive deterrent discouraging the decision to have children. Couples with unemployed women are less likely to plan childbearing as well. Other relevant explanatory variables are age, current family size, and the strength of family ties.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 18851.

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Date of creation: 24 Nov 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:18851

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Keywords: Fertility; Family planning; Childbearing; Labour market; Female participation; Labour precariousness; Social capital; Italy;

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  1. Daniela Del Boca & Silvia Pasqua & Chiara Pronzato, 2009. "Motherhood and market work decisions in institutional context: a European perspective," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(suppl_1), pages i147-i171, April.
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  4. Ferrera, Maurizio, 2005. "The Boundaries of Welfare: European Integration and the New Spatial Politics of Social Protection," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, number 9780199284672, October.
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  7. Daniela Del Boca & Robert M. Sauer, 2006. "Life Cycle Employment and Fertility Across Institutional Environments," CHILD Working Papers, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY wp14_06, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
  8. Leonardi, Robert, 1995. "Regional Development in Italy: Social Capital and the Mezzogiorno," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 165-79, Summer.
  9. Ahn, N. & Mira, P., 1999. "A Note on the Changing Relationship Between Fertility and Female Employment Rates in Developed Countries," Papers, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros- 9903, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros-.
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  12. Sabatini, Fabio, 2009. "Social capital as social networks: A new framework for measurement and an empirical analysis of its determinants and consequences," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 429-442, June.
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  18. Anna Christina D'Addio & Marco Mira d'Ercole, 2005. "Trends and Determinants of Fertility Rates: The Role of Policies," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 27, OECD Publishing.
  19. Fabio Sabatini, 2008. "Social Capital and the Quality of Economic Development," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 466-499, 08.
  20. S. Philip Morgan, 2003. "Is low fertility a twenty-first-century demographic crisis?," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 589-603, November.
  21. 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., The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(4), pages 641-680.
  22. Willis, Robert J, 1973. "A New Approach to the Economic Theory of Fertility Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S14-64, Part II, .
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