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Policies Addressing the Tempo Effect in Low-Fertility Countries

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  • Wolfgang Lutz
  • Vegard Skirbekk

Abstract

The possible negative consequences of current low fertility levels are causing increasing concern, particularly in countries where the total fertility rate is below 1.5. Social inertia and self-reinforcing processes may make it difficult to return to higher levels once fertility has been very low for some time, creating a possible "low-fertility trap." Policies explicitly addressing the fertility-depressing effect of increases in the mean age at child-bearing (the tempo effect) may be a way to raise period fertility to somewhat higher levels and help escape the "low-fertility trap" before it closes. Reforms in the school system may affect the timing of childbearing by lowering the age at completion of education. A more efficient school system, which provides the same qualifications with a younger school-leaving age, is potentially capable of increasing period fertility and hence exerting a rejuvenating effect on the age composition, even if the levels of cohort fertility remain unchanged. Such policies may also have a positive effect on completed cohort fertility. Copyright 2005 The Population Council, Inc..

Suggested Citation

  • Wolfgang Lutz & Vegard Skirbekk, 2005. "Policies Addressing the Tempo Effect in Low-Fertility Countries," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 31(4), pages 699-720.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:31:y:2005:i:4:p:699-720
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    Cited by:

    1. Elizabeth Thomson & Maria Winkler-Dworak & Martin Spielauer & Alexia Prskawetz, 2012. "Union Instability as an Engine of Fertility? A Microsimulation Model for France," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(1), pages 175-195, February.
    2. Massimiliano Bratti & Konstantinos Tatsiramos, 2012. "The effect of delaying motherhood on the second childbirth in Europe," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, pages 291-321.
    3. Massimiliano Bratti & Laura Cavalli, 2014. "Delayed First Birth and New Mothers’ Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from Biological Fertility Shocks," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, pages 35-63.
    4. Michele Pellizzari & Francesco Billari, 2012. "The younger, the better? Age-related differences in academic performance at university," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, pages 697-739.
    5. Maria Rita Testa & Vegard Skirbekk & Wolfgang Lutz, 2006. "The Low Fertility Trap Hypothesis. Forces that May Lead to Further Postponement and Fewer Births in Europe," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, pages 167-192.
    6. Peter McDonald, 2006. "An Assessment of Policies that Support Having Children from the Perspectives of Equity, Efficiency and Efficacy," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, pages 213-234.
    7. Joshua R. Goldstein & Tomáš Sobotka & Aiva Jasilioniene, 2009. "The end of 'lowest-low' fertility? (with supplementary materials)," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2009-029, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    8. Máire Ní Bhrolcháin, 2011. "Tempo and the TFR," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(3), pages 841-861, August.
    9. Anne H. Gauthier & Dimiter Philipov, 2008. "Can policies enhance fertility in Europe?," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, pages 1-16.
    10. Margarita Delgado & Gerardo Meil & Francisco Zamora-López, 2008. "Spain: Short on children and short on family policies," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(27), pages 1059-1104, July.
    11. Sinclair, Sarah & Boymal, Jonathan & de Silva, Ashton J, 2012. "Is the fertility response to the Australian baby bonus heterogeneous across maternal age? Evidence from Victoria," MPRA Paper 42725, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Anne Gauthier, 2007. "The impact of family policies on fertility in industrialized countries: a review of the literature," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), pages 323-346.
    13. Aart C. Liefbroer & Dimiter Philipov & Francesco C. Billari, 2006. "The Postponement of Childbearing in Europe: Driving Forces and Implications," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, pages 1-17.
    14. Nikolai Botev, 2008. "'Can policies enhance fertility in Europe?' and questions beyond," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, pages 29-34.
    15. Øystein Kravdal, 2010. "Demographers’ interest in fertility trends and determinants in developed countries: Is it warranted?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 22(22), pages 663-690, April.
    16. Massimiliano Bratti & Laura Cavalli, 2014. "Delayed First Birth and New Mothers’ Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from Biological Fertility Shocks," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, pages 35-63.
    17. Dirk J. van de Kaa, 2006. "Temporarily New: On Low Fertility and the Prospect of Pro-natal Policies," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, pages 193-211.

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