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A review of policies and practices related to the 'highest-low' fertility of Sweden

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  • Gunnar Andersson

Abstract

This article reviews research on the role social and family policies play for fertility in Sweden. Swedish family policies are not directly aimed at encouraging childbirth. Their main goal has rather been to support women's participation in the labour force and to promote gender equality. They focus on enabling individuals to pursue their family and occupational pathways without being too dependent on other persons. The following measures have helped women to reconcile family and working life: individual taxation and individual-based socialsecurity systems, which make gendered segregation of work and care less attractive for couples; an income replacement-based parental-leave system, which gives women incentives to establish themselves on the labour market before considering childbirth; and subsidised child care, which allows women to return to work after parental leave. Fertility has fluctuated during recent decades but--as in the other Nordic countries with similar welfare state setups -it has remained well above the European average. The Swedish institutional context clearly is conducive to such 'highest-low' fertility. My review documents the importance of institutional factors in shaping childbearing behaviour and demonstrates some specific impacts of family policies on demographic behaviour.

Suggested Citation

  • Gunnar Andersson, 2008. "A review of policies and practices related to the 'highest-low' fertility of Sweden," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 6(1), pages 89-102.
  • Handle: RePEc:vid:yearbk:v:6:y:2008:i:1:p:89-102
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Peter McDonald, 2000. "Gender Equity in Theories of Fertility Transition," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 26(3), pages 427-439.
    2. Jan M. Hoem, 2005. "Why does Sweden have such high fertility?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 13(22), pages 559-572, November.
    3. Gunnar Andersson & Kirk Scott, 2007. "Childbearing dynamics of couples in a universalistic welfare state: the role of labor-market status, country of origin, and gender," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2007-016, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    4. FFF1Gunnar NNN1Andersson, 2004. "Childbearing Developments in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden from the 1970s to the 1990s: A Comparison," Demographic Research Special Collections, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 3(7), pages 155-176, April.
    5. Tomas Frejka & Gerard Calot, 2001. "Cohort Reproductive Patterns in the Nordic Countries," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 5(5), pages 125-186, November.
    6. Ronald Rindfuss & David Guilkey & S. Morgan & Øystein Kravdal & Karen Guzzo, 2007. "Child care availability and first-birth timing in Norway," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 44(2), pages 345-372, May.
    7. Gunnar Andersson, 2002. "Fertility developments in Norway and Sweden since the early 1960s," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 6(4), pages 67-86, February.
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    1. repec:dem:demres:v:37:y:2017:i:7 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Elizabeth Thomson & Trude Lappegård & Marcia Carlson & Ann Evans & Edith Gray, 2014. "Childbearing Across Partnerships in Australia, the United States, Norway, and Sweden," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(2), pages 485-508, April.

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