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The Reproductive Paradox of a “Strong Family” Society: The Case of Low Fertility in Italy

Author

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  • Chiara Saraceno

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Chiara Saraceno, 2005. "The Reproductive Paradox of a “Strong Family” Society: The Case of Low Fertility in Italy," QA - Rivista dell'Associazione Rossi-Doria, Associazione Rossi Doria, issue 1, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:rar:journl:0011
    as

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    File URL: http://www.francoangeli.it/riviste/Scheda_Riviste.asp?IDArticolo=24296&Tipo=Articolo%20PDF
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fertility; Gender; Female Employment; Equal Opportunity; Welfare State;

    JEL classification:

    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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