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Crisis or adaptation reconsidered: a comparison of East and West German fertility patterns in the first six years after the ´Wende´

  • Michaela Kreyenfeld

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

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    Similar to other Eastern European countries, East Germany experienced a rapid decline in period fertility rates after the fall of communism. This decline has been discussed along the lines of a ´crisis´ and a ´adaptation´ to western demographic patterns. The aim of this paper is twofold. Firstly, we discuss the factors which foster and hamper a convergence of fertility behavior in East and West Germany. Secondly, we use data from the German micro-census to analyze the fertility patterns of the cohorts born 1961-1970. Major results from our empirical analysis are that East Germans who are still childless at unification are more rapid to have their first child in the subsequent years than comparable West Germans. However, regarding second parity births, the pattern reverses. Here, East Germans display a lower transition rate than their counterparts in the West.

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    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its series MPIDR Working Papers with number WP-2002-032.

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    Length: 41 pages
    Date of creation: Jul 2002
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2002-032
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    1. Hans-Peter Kohler & Dimiter Philipov, 2001. "Variance effects in the bongaarts-feeney formula," Demography, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 1-16, February.
    2. Dimiter Philipov, 2002. "Fertility in times of discontinuous societal change: the case of Central and Eastern Europe," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2002-024, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    3. Thomas Lange, 1998. "The Economics of German Unification," Books, Edward Elgar, number 794, April.
    4. Magdalena Joos, 1995. "East Joins West: Child welfare and market reforms in the 'special case' of the former GDR," Papers iopeps95/18, Innocenti Occasional Papers, Economic Policy Series.
    5. Witte, James C. & Wagner, Gert G., 1995. "Declining Fertility in East Germany After Unification: A Demographic Response to Socioeconomic Change," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 387-397.
    6. Tomas Frejka & Gérard Calot, 2001. "Cohort Reproductive Patterns in Low-Fertility Countries," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 27(1), pages 103-132.
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