Understanding the long term effects of family policies on fertility: The diffusion of different family models in France and Germany
European countries in which mothers are encouraged to remain in the labour market have higher fertility levels. It is difficult, however, to link specific policies to fertility increases. We hypothesize that policy changes do not affect fertility decisions in the short term as long as external childcare is not seen as an acceptable option, although policy does have an impact upon childcare attitudes in the long term. Using a comparative qualitative approach, we find that attitudes towards childcare are strikingly different in France than in Western Germany, reflecting long-standing policy orientations. Attitudes act as an intermediate variable between access to childcare and its use in both countries, and are strongly homogenous within countries.
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