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Intergenerational transmission of fertility intentions and behaviour in Germany: the role of contagion

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  • Markus Kotte
  • Volker Ludwig

Abstract

This study investigates whether the fertility behaviour of significant others, in particular of one's parents and siblings, affects individuals' own fertility intentions and behaviour. Using the data of three cohorts of young Germans, we test the hypothesis that `contagion' by siblings with young children explains the transmission of fertility patterns across generations. In theory, transmission might be explained by contagion, or transmission and contagion might operate independently of each other. The results show strong evidence for the transmission of fertility intentions and behaviour from parents to their offspring. Evidence for contagion by siblings is weak and contagious effects therefore do not explain transmission.

Suggested Citation

  • Markus Kotte & Volker Ludwig, 2011. "Intergenerational transmission of fertility intentions and behaviour in Germany: the role of contagion," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 9(1), pages 207-226.
  • Handle: RePEc:vid:yearbk:v:9:y:2011:i:1:p:207-226
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    1. 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.
    2. Hans-Peter Kohler & Joseph L. Rodgers & Kaare Christensen, 1999. "Is Fertility Behavior in Our Genes? Findings from a Danish Twin Study," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 25(2), pages 253-288.
    3. Torkild Lyngstad & Alexia Prskawetz, 2010. "Do siblings’ fertility decisions influence each other?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 47(4), pages 923-934, November.
    4. Joshua R. Goldstein & Michaela Kreyenfeld, 2011. "Has East Germany Overtaken West Germany? Recent Trends in Order‐Specific Fertility," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 37(3), pages 453-472, September.
    5. Sunnee Billingsley, 2010. "The Post-Communist Fertility Puzzle," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 29(2), pages 193-231, April.
    6. Thomas Pullum & Douglas Wolf, 1991. "Correlations between frequencies of kin," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 28(3), pages 391-409, August.
    7. William Axinn & Marin Clarkberg & Arland Thornton, 1994. "Family influences on family size preferences," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 31(1), pages 65-79, February.
    8. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Isabel Günther & Sebastian Linnemayr, 2008. "Social Interactions and Fertility in Developing Countries," PGDA Working Papers 3408, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
    9. Alison L. Booth & Hiau Joo Kee, 2009. "Intergenerational Transmission of Fertility Patterns," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 71(2), pages 183-208, April.
    10. Douglas Anderton & Noriko Tsuya & Lee Bean & Geraldine Mineau, 1987. "Intergenerational transmission of relative fertility and life course patterns," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 24(4), pages 467-480, November.
    11. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 531-542.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anja Vatterrott, 2015. "Socialisation or Institutional Context: What Determines the First and Second Birth Behaviour of East–West German Migrants?," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 31(4), pages 383-415, October.
    2. Daniel Lois, 2016. "Types of social networks and the transition to parenthood," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 34(23), pages 657-688, April.
    3. Laura Bernardi & Andreas Klärner, 2014. "Social networks and fertility," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 30(22), pages 641-670, March.
    4. Rannveig Kaldager Hart & Sara Cools, 2017. "Identifying fertility contagion using random fertility shocks," Discussion Papers 861, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    5. repec:spr:soinre:v:133:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1386-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Anthony A. Noce & Dhimtri Qirjo & Namini De Silva, 2016. "Enticing the Stork: Can we Evaluate Pro-Natal Policies Before Having Children?," Economic Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(2), pages 184-202, June.

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