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Economic uncertainty and fertility postponement: evidence from German panel data

  • Michaela Kreyenfeld

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

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    This paper investigates whether economic uncertainty induces a postponement of family formation. We use data from the German Socio-Economic Panel which provides longitudinal information of economic uncertainty and fertility for the period 1984 to 2004. We employ ‘objective’ measures of uncertainty (unemployment, fixed-term contract, low income) as well as ‘subjective’ measures (the feeling that the personal economic situation is insecure). Our results suggest that there is no clear indication that economic uncertainty generally leads to a postponement of parenthood. More highly educated women tend to postpone family formation when unemployed or when they feel insecure about their personal economic situation. However, women with low educational levels accommodate themselves quite readily with motherhood when subject to labor market insecurities.

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    File URL: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/papers/working/wp-2005-034.pdf
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    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its series MPIDR Working Papers with number WP-2005-034.

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    Length: 32 pages
    Date of creation: Nov 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2005-034
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/

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    1. Sumon K. Bhaumik & Jeffrey B. Nugent, 2002. "Does economic uncertainty have an impact on decisions to bear children? Evidence from Eastern Germany," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2002-037, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    2. John Bongaarts, 1999. "Fertility Decline in the Developed World: Where Will It End?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 256-260, May.
    3. S. Philip Morgan & Ronald Rindfuss, 1999. "Reexamining the link of early childbearing to Marriage and to subsequent fertillty," Demography, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 59-75, February.
    4. Siv Gustafsson, 2001. "Optimal age at motherhood. Theoretical and empirical considerations on postponement of maternity in Europe," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 225-247.
    5. Øystein Kravdal, 2002. "The impact of individual and aggregate unemployment on fertility in Norway," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 6(10), pages 263-294, April.
    6. Sara Rica & Amaia Iza, 2005. "Career Planning in Spain: Do Fixed-term Contracts Delay Marriage and Parenthood?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 49-73, November.
    7. Margaret Marini & Peter Hodsdon, 1981. "Effects of the timing of marriage and first birth of the spacing of subsequent births," Demography, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 529-548, November.
    8. Alícia Adserà, 2004. "Changing fertility rates in developed countries. The impact of labor market institutions," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 17-43, February.
    9. George B. Roberts, Chairman, Universities-National Bureau Committee for Economic Research, 1960. "Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number univ60-2, October.
    10. Tomás Sobotka, 2004. "Is Lowest-Low Fertility in Europe Explained by the Postponement of Childbearing?," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 30(2), pages 195-220.
    11. Eileen Trzcinski & Elke Holst, 2003. "Hohe Lebenszufriedenheit teilzeitbeschäftigter Mütter," DIW Wochenbericht, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 70(35), pages 539-545.
    12. Leibenstein, Harvey, 1975. "The Economic Theory of Fertility Decline," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 1-31, February.
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