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Consequences of Family Policies on Childbearing Behavior: Effects or Artifacts?

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  • Gerda Neyer
  • Gunnar Andersson

Abstract

This article argues for a more careful consideration of theoretical and methodological approaches in studies of the effects of public policies, labeled here as family policies, on childbearing behavior. We employ elements of comparative welfare-state research, of the sociology of "constructed categories," and of "the new institutionalism" to demonstrate that investigations into policy effects need to contextualize policies and need to reduce their complexity by focusing on "critical junctures,""space," and "uptake." We argue that the effects of family policies can only be assessed properly if we study their impact on individual behavior. Event-history models applied to individual-level data are the state-of-the-art of such an approach. We use selected empirical studies from Sweden to demonstrate that the type of approach that we advocate prevents us from drawing misleading conclusions. Copyright (c) 2008 The Population Council, Inc..

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:34:y:2008:i:4:p:699-724
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    1. Nicholas Kofi Adjei & Sunnee Billingsley, 2017. "Childbearing Behavior Before and After the 1994 Population Policies in Ghana," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 36(2), pages 251-271, April.
    2. Anna Matysiak & Letizia Mencarini & Daniele Vignoli, 2015. "Work-family Conflict Moderates the Impact of Childbearing on Subjective Well-Being," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 435, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    3. Martin Bujard, 2011. "Family Policy And Demographic Effects: The Case Of Germany," Demográfia English Edition, Hungarian Demographic Research Institute, vol. 54(5), pages 56-78.
    4. Jonas Wood & Sebastian Klüsener & Karel Neels & Mikko Myrskylä, 2017. "Is a positive link between human development and fertility attainable? Insights from the Belgian vanguard case," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2017-014, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    5. Anna Matysiak & Tomáš Sobotka & Daniele Vignoli, 2018. "The Great Recession and Fertility in Europe: A Sub-National Analysis," VID Working Papers 1805, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna.
    6. Ronald R. Rindfuss & Minja Kim Choe & Sarah R. Brauner-Otto, 2016. "The Emergence of Two Distinct Fertility Regimes in Economically Advanced Countries," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 35(3), pages 287-304, June.
    7. Kristen Harknett & Francesco Billari & Carla Medalia, 2014. "Do Family Support Environments Influence Fertility? Evidence from 20 European Countries," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 30(1), pages 1-33, February.
    8. Kamila Cygan-Rehm, 2013. "Parental leave benefit and differential fertility responses: Evidence from a German reform," Working Papers 142, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
    9. Mikko Myrskyla & Hans-Peter Kohler & Francesco C. Billari, 2011. "High development and fertility: fertility at older reproductive ages and gender equality explain the positive link," Working Papers 049, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
    10. Karel Neels & David De Wachter, 2010. "Postponement and recuperation of Belgian fertility: how are they related to rising female educational attainment?," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 8(1), pages 77-106.
    11. Jonas Wood & Karel Neels & Jorik Vergauwen, 2016. "Economic and Institutional Context and Second Births in Seven European Countries," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 35(3), pages 305-325, June.
    12. Hill Kulu & Amparo González-Ferrer, 2014. "Family Dynamics Among Immigrants and Their Descendants in Europe: Current Research and Opportunities," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 30(4), pages 411-435, November.
    13. Sebastian Klüsener & Karel Neels & Michaela Kreyenfeld, 2013. "Social norms, family policies, and fertility trends: insights from a comparative study on the German-speaking region in Belgium," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2013-003, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    14. Frances Goldscheider & Livia Sz. Oláh & Allan Puur, 2010. "Reconciling studies of men’s gender attitudes and fertility," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 22(8), pages 189-198, February.
    15. Hans-Peter Kohler & Letizia Mencarini, 2016. "The Parenthood Happiness Puzzle: An Introduction to Special Issue," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 32(3), pages 327-338, August.
    16. Kamila Cygan-Rehm, 2015. "Parental Leave Benefit and Differential Fertility Responses: Evidence from a German Reform," CESifo Working Paper Series 5397, CESifo Group Munich.
    17. Kenneth Aarskaug Wiik & Jennifer A. Holland, 2015. "Partner choice and timing of first marriage among children of immigrants in Norway and Sweden," Discussion Papers 810, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    18. Chiara Comolli & Fabrizio Bernardi, 2015. "The causal effect of the great recession on childlessness of white American women," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-24, December.
    19. Pau Baizan & Bruno Arpino & Carlos Eric Delclòs, 2016. "The Effect of Gender Policies on Fertility: The Moderating Role of Education and Normative Context," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 32(1), pages 1-30, February.
    20. Walter Korpi & Stefan Englund & Tommy Ferrarini, 2010. "Women's Opportunities Under Different Constellations of Family Policies in Western Countries: Inequality Tradeoffs Re-Examined," LIS Working papers 556, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    21. Rozemarijn Dereuddre & Bart Van de Putte & Piet Bracke, 2016. "Ready, Willing, and Able: Contraceptive Use Patterns Across Europe," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 32(4), pages 543-573, October.
    22. Kamila Cygan-Rehm, 2016. "Parental leave benefit and differential fertility responses: evidence from a German reform," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(1), pages 73-103, January.

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