The influence of employment uncertainty on childbearing in France: A tempo or quantum effect?
This paper investigates whether unemployment and insecure employment periods merely delay fertility or also impact on completed fertility in France. It analyses both the timing of first childbearing and the fertility reached at age 40. Different indicators of declining employment security are used, i.e. current individual employment characteristics, the accumulation of unstable jobs, and aggregate-level indicators of employment uncertainty. Male unemployment has a negative influence on the timing of first childbearing, while periods of insecure employment delay fertility for women. Completed fertility is impacted by unemployment spells only for men who have faced long-term unemployment. Employment uncertainty thus tends to delay first parenthood but has a relatively weak effect on lifetime fertility in France. Generous state support to families associated with a generous unemployment insurance system, and the strong French two-child family norm may explain why economic uncertainty affects fertility less than elsewhere.
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