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High development and fertility: fertility at older reproductive ages and gender equality explain the positive link

Author

Listed:
  • Mikko Myrskylä

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

  • Hans-Peter Kohler

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

  • Francesco C. Billari

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

Abstract

A fundamental reversal of the traditional fertility-development relationship has occurred in highly developed countries so that further socioeconomic development is no longer associated with decreasing fertility, but with increasing fertility. In this paper, we seek to shed light on the mechanisms underlying this reversal by analyzing data from 1975 to 2008 for over 100 countries. We find that the reversal exists from both the period and the cohort perspectives, and is mainly driven by increasing fertility at older reproductive ages. Further, the reversal is only partially explained by changes in the timing of fertility. However, the positive impact of development on fertility is conditional on gender equality: countries that rank high in development as measured by health, income, and education, but low in gender equality, continue to experience declining fertility. This finding demonstrates the importance of work-family balance in shaping fertility at older reproductive ages.

Suggested Citation

  • Mikko Myrskylä & Hans-Peter Kohler & Francesco C. Billari, 2011. "High development and fertility: fertility at older reproductive ages and gender equality explain the positive link," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2011-017, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2011-017
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    World; developed areas; equal opportunity; fertility; gender; low fertility zones;

    JEL classification:

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

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