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Societal Agreement on Gender Role Attitudes and Childlessness in 38 Countries

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  • Ansgar Hudde

    (University of Bamberg)

Abstract

Many authors argue that levels of childlessness and fertility are a function of changing gender relations, but the mechanisms behind this association remain unclear and mainly untested. This study argues that the societal variation in gender role attitudes explains the link: a great variation in attitudes among potential partners leads to uncertainty and conflicts, which depresses people’s propensity for parenthood. This idea is tested with multilevel logistic regression models for 6305 individuals in 38 countries on all continents, using ISSP 2012 data. Measures for the average gender role attitude in the society as well as the dispersion in attitudes are regressed on whether individuals have at least one child or are childless. Attitudes are captured using factor analysis and are opinions towards the gendered division of given tasks and privileges, such as childrearing or the uptake of parental leave. The dispersion in attitudes is the standard deviation of the factor variable in the given country. The analysis gives support to the hypothesis: the greater the variation in gender role attitudes, the higher the chance for individuals to remain childless. The association is significant and holds against various robustness checks.

Suggested Citation

  • Ansgar Hudde, 2018. "Societal Agreement on Gender Role Attitudes and Childlessness in 38 Countries," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 34(5), pages 745-767, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:eurpop:v:34:y:2018:i:5:d:10.1007_s10680-017-9459-8
    DOI: 10.1007/s10680-017-9459-8
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    Cited by:

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    2. Marcel Raab & Emanuela Struffolino, 2020. "The Heterogeneity of Partnership Trajectories to Childlessness in Germany," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 36(1), pages 53-70, March.
    3. Zhiyun Li & Hualei Yang & Xianchen Zhu & Lin Xie, 2021. "A Multilevel Study of the Impact of Egalitarian Attitudes Toward Gender Roles on Fertility Desires in China," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 40(4), pages 747-769, August.
    4. Sebastian Klüsener & Aiva Jasilioniene & Victoriya Yuodeshko, 2019. "Retraditionalization as a pathway to escape lowest-low fertility? Characteristics and prospects of the Eastern European “baby boom”," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2019-014, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.

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