IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Gender equity and fertility intentions in Italy and the Netherlands

  • Melinda Mills

    (University of Groningen)

  • Katia Begall

    (Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt)

  • Letizia Mencarini

    (University of Turin)

  • Maria Letizia Tanturri

    (University of Pavia)

Fertility levels have fallen drastically in most industrialized countries. Diverse theoretical and empirical frameworks have had difficulty in explaining these unprecedented low levels of fertility. More recently, however, attention has turned from classic explanations, such as women’s increased labour market participation, to gender equity as the essential link to understand this phenomenon. The increase in women’s labour market participation did not prompt an increase in men’s domestic duties, which is often referred to women’s ‘dual burden’ or ‘second shift’. Institutions and policies within countries also facilitate or constrain the combination of women’s employment with fertility. This paper provides an empirical test of gender equity theory by examining whether the unequal division of household labour leads to lower fertility intentions of women in different institutional contexts. Italy constitutes a case of high gender inequity, low female labour market participation and the lowest-low fertility. The Netherlands has moderate to low gender inequity, high part-time female labour market participation and comparatively higher fertility. Using data from the 2003 Italian Multipurpose Survey - Family and Social Actors and the 2004/5 Dutch sample from the European Social Survey, a series of logistic regression models test this theory. A central finding is that the unequal division of household labour only has a significant impact on women’s fertility intentions when they already carry the load of high paid work hours or children, a finding that is particularly significant for working women in Italy.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Article provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its journal Demographic Research.

Volume (Year): 18 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 1-26

in new window

Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:18:y:2008:i:1
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Anxo, Dominique & Flood, Lennart & Mencarini, Letizia & Pailhé, Ariane & Solaz, Anne & Tanturri, Maria Letizia, 2007. "Time Allocation between Work and Family over the Life-Cycle: A Comparative Gender Analysis of Italy, France, Sweden and the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 3193, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Daniela Del Boca & Daniela Vuri, 2006. "The Mismatch between Employment and Child Care in Italy: the Impact of Rationing," CHILD Working Papers wp08_06, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
  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. Karsten Hank & Michaela Kreyenfeld, 2000. "Does the availability of childcare influence the employment of mothers? Findings from western Germany," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2000-003, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  5. Maria Letizia Tanturri & Letizia Mencarini, 2008. "Childless or Childfree? Paths to Voluntary Childlessness in Italy," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 34(1), pages 51-77.
  6. Daniela Del Boca, 2002. "The effect of child care and part time opportunities on participation and fertility decisions in Italy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 549-573.
  7. repec:cai:poeine:pope_604_0389 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. 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., vol. 28(4), pages 641-680.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:18:y:2008:i:1. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Editorial Office)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.