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Fertility in Advanced Societies: A Review of Research

Author

Listed:
  • Nicoletta Balbo

    (University of Groningen)

  • Francesco C. Billari

    (University of Oxford)

  • Melinda Mills

    (University of Groningen)

Abstract

This paper provides a review of fertility research in advanced societies, societies in which birth control is the default option. The central aim is to provide a comprehensive review that summarizes how contemporary research has explained ongoing and expected fertility changes across time and space (i.e., cross- and within-country heterogeneity). A secondary aim is to provide an analytical synthesis of the core determinants of fertility, grouping them within the analytical level in which they operate. Determinants are positioned at the individual and/or couple level (micro-level), social relationships and social networks (meso-level); and, by cultural and institutional settings (macro-level). The focus is both on the quantum and on the tempo of fertility, with a particular focus on the postponement of childbearing. The review incorporates both theoretical and empirical contributions, with attention placed on empirically tested research and whether results support or falsify existing theoretical expectations. Attention is also devoted to causality and endogeneity issues. The paper concludes with an outline of the current challenges and opportunities for future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicoletta Balbo & Francesco C. Billari & Melinda Mills, 2013. "Fertility in Advanced Societies: A Review of Research," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 29(1), pages 1-38, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:eurpop:v:29:y:2013:i:1:d:10.1007_s10680-012-9277-y
    DOI: 10.1007/s10680-012-9277-y
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