Learning from others and receiving support: the impact of personal networks on fertility intentions in Poland
Research about fertility has focused in the main on studying separately the influences of communication networks and social capital on reproductive behavior, but it has rarely tried to integrate both network properties theoretically or analytically. We therefore discuss a general model of purposeful behavior that perceives individuals’ subjective perceptions of the utilities of different courses of action to be affected by structures of interpersonal influence. Resources needed to realize desired goals are furthermore shaped by exchange relationships that build social capital. These considerations are empirically applied to explanations of the intentions of 758 Polish men and women ever to have a first, second, or third child. Personal networks are especially relevant for the considerations to have a first or a second child. The intentions of childless respondents are positively influenced by network partners that are in a similar stage of their reproductive biographies or that have already taken the step of having a first child. However, respondents with one child intend to have a second child with a higher probability the more they have access to fertility-related social capital. (Keywords: interpersonal influence, social capital, fertility, rational choice, behavioral intentions, Poland)
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