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Religion and fertility: The French connection

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  • Thomas Baudin

    (Université catholique de Louvain)

Abstract

Background: France has been among the first countries to become secularized but has preserved a Catholic identity. Before 2008, French laws made it very difficult to collect data on an individual’s religious affiliation. The dataset "Enquête Mode de Vie des Français" is the first allowing one to collect such data. Objective: I investigate the impact that being a Catholic has on fertility in France. I answer two main questions: (i) Do Catholic people have more children than others? (ii) Why is this the case? Methods: Fertility is measured by the number of children ever born. I use the dataset "Enquête Mode de Vie des Français" and Zero-Inflated Poisson regression models. Individual religiosity is approximated by the attendance at religious services. Results: I first show that practicing Catholics have more children than the rest of the population, while this is not verified for nominal Catholics. I also construct two variables allowing me to detect that particularized ideology mechanisms (Goldscheider 1971) can explain in part why religion has an impact on fertility in my dataset. Nevertheless, I cannot exclude the social interaction hypothesis. The multivariate analysis I provide also validates the main mechanisms of the rational actor model. Conclusions: I implement several robustness checks showing that my main results are robust to changing my regression model (ordered probit and linear regressions) and the way religiousness and fertility are measured.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Baudin, 2015. "Religion and fertility: The French connection," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 32(13), pages 397-420.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:32:y:2015:i:13
    DOI: 10.4054/DemRes.2015.32.13
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    Cited by:

    1. Klaus Prettner & Holger Strulik, 2017. "It's a Sin—Contraceptive Use, Religious Beliefs, and Long-run Economic Development," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(3), pages 543-566, August.
    2. Baudin, Thomas, 2010. "A Role For Cultural Transmission In Fertility Transitions," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(4), pages 454-481, September.
    3. Thomas Baudin, 2015. "Religion and fertility: The French connection," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 32(13), pages 397-420.
    4. Bastien CHABE-FERRET, 2013. "The Importance of Fertility Norms: New Evidence from France," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2013012, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    5. Julia Behrman & Jeylan Erman, 2019. "An exploration of differences in ideal family size between Muslim and non-Muslim women in France," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 41(22), pages 617-648.
    6. Sandra Brée & David de la Croix, 2019. "Key forces behind the decline of fertility: lessons from childlessness in Rouen before the industrial revolution," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 13(1), pages 25-54, January.
    7. de la Croix, David & Perrin, Faustine, 2018. "How far can economic incentives explain the French fertility and education transition?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 221-245.
    8. Chabé-Ferret, Bastien, 2019. "Adherence to cultural norms and economic incentives: Evidence from fertility timing decisions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 24-48.
    9. Thomas Baudin, 2012. "More on Religion and Fertility: The French Connection," Working Papers hal-00993310, HAL.
    10. Robert Stelter, 2016. "Fertility and health insurance types in Germany," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2016021, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    11. Jona Schellekens, 2019. "Does the association between children and happiness vary by level of religiosity? The evidence from Israel," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 41(5), pages 103-124.
    12. Jona Schellekens & A’as Atrash, 2018. "Religiosity and marital fertility among Muslims in Israel," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 39(34), pages 911-926.
    13. Eva Beaujouan & Anne Solaz, 2019. "Is the Family Size of Parents and Children Still Related? Revisiting the Cross-Generational Relationship Over the Last Century," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 56(2), pages 595-619, April.
    14. Barbara S. Okun, 2017. "Religiosity and Fertility: Jews in Israel," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 33(4), pages 475-507, October.
    15. Beata Osiewalska, 2017. "Childlessness and fertility by couples' educational gender (in)equality in Austria, Bulgaria, and France," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 37(12), pages 325-362.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    fertility; religion; family ties; religiosity; cultural transmission;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

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