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Consequences of family policies on childbearing behavior: effects or artifacts?

  • Gerda R. Neyer

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

  • Gunnar Andersson

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

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    This paper argues that theoretical and methodological aspects account for the ambiguous results of investigations into the effects of family policies on fertility. Theoretically we employ approaches of comparative welfare-state research, of the sociology of “constructed categories”, and of the “new institutionalism” to demonstrate that investigations into the effects of policies on fertility need to contextualize policies and reduce their complexities by focusing on “critical junctures”, “space”, and “usage”. As regards methods we argue that the policy effects can only be assessed properly if we study the impact of policies on individual behavior, event-history models applied to individual-level data being the state-of-theart of such an approach. We present studies on the impact of family policies on Swedish childbearing behavior to demonstrate that an analytical and methodological approach as we advocate prevents us from drawing misleading conclusions about the effects of family policies on childbearing and fertility.

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    File URL: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/papers/working/wp-2007-021.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-2007-021.

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    Length: 36 pages
    Date of creation: May 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2007-021
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/

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    1. FFF1Francesco NNN1Billari, 2004. "Becoming an Adult in Europe: A Macro(/Micro)-Demographic Perspective," Demographic Research Special Collections, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 3(2), pages 15-44, April.
    2. 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.
    3. Peter McDonald, 2000. "Gender Equity in Theories of Fertility Transition," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 26(3), pages 427-439.
    4. Gunnar Andersson & Jan M. Hoem & Ann-Zofie Duvander, 2006. "Social differentials in speed-premium effects in childbearing in Sweden," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 14(4), pages 51-70, January.
    5. Gerda R. Neyer & Gunnar Andersson & Jan M. Hoem & Marit Rønsen & Andres Vikat, 2006. "Fertilität, Familiengründung und Familienerweiterung in den nordischen Ländern," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2006-022, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    6. Gunnar Andersson & Kirk Scott, 2007. "Childbearing dynamics of couples in a universalistic welfare state: the role of labor-market status, country of origin, and gender," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2007-016, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    7. Máire Ní Bhrolcháin & Tim Dyson, 2007. "On Causation in Demography: Issues and Illustrations," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 33(1), pages 1-36.
    8. Gerda R. Neyer, 2003. "Family policies and low fertility in Western Europe," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2003-021, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    9. Gunnar Andersson & Kirk Scott, 2007. "Childbearing dynamics of couples in a universalistic welfare state," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 17(30), pages 897-938, December.
    10. Linda Haas, 2003. "Parental Leave and Gender Equality: Lessons from the European Union," Review of Policy Research, Policy Studies Organization, vol. 20(1), pages 89-114, 03.
    11. Gerda R. Neyer, 2003. "Gender and generations dimensions in welfare-state policies," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2003-022, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    12. Neyer, Gerda, 2003. "Family Policies and Low Fertility in Western Europe," Discussion Paper 161, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    13. Joëlle Sleebos, 2003. "Low Fertility Rates in OECD Countries: Facts and Policy Responses," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers 15, OECD Publishing.
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