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On the structural value of children and its implication on intended fertility in Bulgaria

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  • Christoph Bühler

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

Abstract

Personal networks receive increasing recognition as structural determinants of fertility. However, the network perspective also helps to explain personal motivations for having children. Using theories of interpersonal exchange and of the value of children, it is argued that children can substantively alter and improve their parents’ social networks. Individuals perceive this potential advantageous development as a structural benefit and consider this value in their reproductive decisions. Data from Bulgaria, collected in 2002, support this argument. The intentions of females and males to have a first or second child are positively influenced by at least one structural value. Women’s intentions are promoted by the prospect that a child will bring their parents and relatives closer or will strengthen the bond with the partner. Male’s intentions are closely associated with the expectation that a child will improve their security at old age.

Suggested Citation

  • Christoph Bühler, 2006. "On the structural value of children and its implication on intended fertility in Bulgaria," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2006-003, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2006-003
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    File URL: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/papers/working/wp-2006-003.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kohler, Hans-Peter, 2001. "Fertility and Social Interaction: An Economic Perspective," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199244591.
    2. Christoph Bühler & Dimiter Philipov, 2005. "Social capital related to fertility: theoretical foundations and empirical evidence from Bulgaria," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2005-016, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    3. Vladimir M. Shkolnikov & Evgueni M. Andreev & René Houle & James W. Vaupel, 2004. "To concentration of reproduction in cohorts of US and European women," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2004-027, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    4. Christoph Bühler & Ewa Fratczak, 2005. "Learning from others and receiving support: the impact of personal networks on fertility intentions in Poland," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2005-017, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    5. Warren Miller, 1986. "Proception: An important fertility behavior," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 23(4), pages 579-594, November.
    6. Christoph Bühler & Dimiter Philipov, 2005. "Social Capital Related to Fertility: Theoretical Foundations and Empirical Evidence from Bulgaria," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 3(1), pages 53-81.
    7. Debra Friedman & Michael Hechter & Satoshi Kanazawa, 1994. "A theory of the value of children," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 31(3), pages 375-401, August.
    8. S. Philip Morgan, 2003. "Is low fertility a twenty-first-century demographic crisis?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 40(4), pages 589-603, November.
    9. Rodolfo Bulatao, 1981. "Values and disvalues of children in successive childbearing decisions," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 18(1), pages 1-25, February.
    10. Laura Bernardi & Holger von der Lippe & Sylvia Keim, 2005. "Mapping social influence on fertility: a mix-method approach to data collection," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2005-015, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
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    Cited by:

    1. Samuel H. Preston & Caroline Sten Hartnett, 2008. "The Future of American Fertility," NBER Working Papers 14498, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Samuel H. Preston & Caroline Sten Hartnett, 2010. "The Future of American Fertility," NBER Chapters,in: Demography and the Economy, pages 11-36 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bulgaria; costs; decision making; fertility determinants; social capital; social network; value of children;

    JEL classification:

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

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