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Autonomy or conservative adjustment? The effect of public policies and educational attainment on third births in Austria


  • Jan M. Hoem

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

  • Alexia Prskawetz

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

  • Gerda R. Neyer

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)


The standardised rate of third births declined by over 50 percent in Austria between the late 1970s and the mid-1990s. The third birth was also postponed gradually over the years up through 1991-92, after which the tempo of childbearing suddenly increased in response to a change in the parental-leave policy. This new policy inadvertently favoured women who had their second or subsequent child shortly after their previous one. We cannot find any indication that the general decline in third births can be seen as a consequence of women’s increasing independence from their husbands at the stage in life we study. Furthermore, it still seems to be more difficult to combine motherhood and labour-force participation in Austria than in Sweden, which is a leader in reducing this incompatibility. These developments reflect the tension between advancing gender equality and the dominance of traditional norms in Austria. (AUTHORS)

Suggested Citation

  • Jan M. Hoem & Alexia Prskawetz & Gerda R. Neyer, 2001. "Autonomy or conservative adjustment? The effect of public policies and educational attainment on third births in Austria," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2001-016, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2001-016

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Evans, William N & Oates, Wallace E & Schwab, Robert M, 1992. "Measuring Peer Group Effects: A Study of Teenage Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 966-991, October.
    3. Karsten Hank & Michaela Kreyenfeld, 2000. "Does the availability of childcare influence the employment of mothers? Findings from western Germany," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2000-003, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    4. Francesco C. Billari & Hans-Peter Kohler, 2000. "The impact of union formation dynamics on first births in West Germany and Italy: are there signs of convergence?," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2000-008, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    5. repec:cai:popine:popu_p1998_10n1_0071 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Donna Ginther & Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 2000. "Neighborhood Attributes as Determinants of Children's Outcomes: How Robust Are the Relationships?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(4), pages 603-642.
    7. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-338, May.
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    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General


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