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The impact of individual and aggregate unemployment on fertility in Norway


  • Øystein Kravdal

    (Universitetet i Oslo)


Continuous-time hazard models are estimated from register-based birth, migration, education and unemployment histories for the complete Norwegian population, linked with aggregate data for municipalities. The analysis covers the period 1992-98. First-birth rates are slightly higher among women who had been unemployed twelve months before than among others, whereas higher-order birth rates are slightly lower. Although men’s unemployment has a more pronounced negative effect, according to paternity rate models, the overall conclusion is that unemployment in Norway has had a negligible impact on fertility through individual-level effects. Aggregate-level effects are more important. Higher-order birth rates are lower in municipalities where men’s or women’s unemployment is high than elsewhere. All in all, the peak unemployment level of 6% experienced in 1993 is found to be associated with a reduction of about 0.08 in total fertility. The results accord well with economic theories for first and higher-order births that are based on the assumption that women are still the primary caretakers.

Suggested Citation

  • Øystein Kravdal, 2002. "The impact of individual and aggregate unemployment on fertility in Norway," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 6(10), pages 263-294, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:6:y:2002:i:10

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Macunovich, D.J. & Easterlin, R.A., 1990. "Application Of Granger-Sims Causality Tests To Monthly Fertility Data, 1958-1984," Department of Economics Working Papers 142, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    2. ûivind Anti Nilsen & Alf Erling Risa & Alf Torstensen, 2000. "Transitions from employment among young Norwegian workers," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 13(1), pages 21-34.
    3. Macunovich, D.J., 1996. "Relative Income and Price of Time: Exploring their effcts on U.S. Fertility and Female Labor Force Participation, 1963-1993," Department of Economics Working Papers 174, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    4. Tzannatos, Zafiris & Symons, James, 1989. "An Economic Approach to Fertility in Britain since 1860," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 2(2), pages 121-138.
    5. De Cooman, Eric & Ermisch, John F & Joshi, Heather, 1985. "The Next Birth and the Labour Market: A Dynamic Model of Births in England and Wales," CEPR Discussion Papers 37, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Roed,K. & Zhang,T., 2000. "Labour market transitions and economic incentives," Memorandum 15/2000, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    7. John Ermisch, 1988. "Econometric Analysis of Birth Rate Dynamics in Britain," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(4), pages 563-576.
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    More about this item


    birth rate; fertility; multilevel model; registry data; unemployment;

    JEL classification:

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


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