The Reproductive Paradox of a “Strong Family” Society: The Case of Low Fertility in Italy
Fertility rates are below replacement level in most industrialised countries. There are, however, substantial cross-country differences. On the basis of an ample demographic and sociological literature and of comparative data, the author argues that the Southern European countries, and particularly Italy, present a specific constellation of all the elements which are nowadays associated with low fertility: delay in the formation of new families, persistent gender asymmetries in practice but also partly in legislation, strong reliance on intergenerational solidarity in the face of a residualistic Welfare State. All these elements combine to reduce the options open to the young and subject women of all ages to considerable tension. (Non-) decisions on fertility are a way of dealing with these constraints and tensions.
Volume (Year): (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
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- 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.
- Francesco C. Billari & Chris Wilson, 2001. "Convergence towards diversity? Cohort dynamics in the transition to adulthood in contemporary Western Europe," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2001-039, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
- Bettio, Francesca & Villa, Paola, 1998. "A Mediterranean Perspective on the Breakdown of the Relationship between Participation and Fertility," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(2), pages 137-171, March.
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