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Do Cross-National Differences in the Costs of Children Generate Cross-National Differences in Fertility Rates?

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  • Thomas A. DiPrete
  • S. Philip Morgan
  • Henriette Engelhardt
  • Hana Pacalova

Abstract

Parity-specific probabilities of having a next birth are estimated from national fertility data and are compared with nation-specific costs of having children as measured by time-budget data, by attitude data from the International Social Survey Program, and by panel data on labor earnings and standard of living changes following a birth. We focus on five countries (the US, West Germany, Denmark, Italy, and the United Kingdom), whose fertility rates span the observed fertility range in the contemporary industrialized world and whose social welfare and family policies span the conceptual space of standard welfare-state typologies. Definitive conclusions are difficult because of the multiple dimensions on which child costs can be measured, the possibility that child costs affect both the quantum and the tempo of fertility, the relatively small fertility differences across industrialized nations, and the inherent small-N problem resulting from nation-level comparisons. Empirical analysis, however, supports the assertion that institutionally driven child costs affect the fertility patterns of industrialized nations.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas A. DiPrete & S. Philip Morgan & Henriette Engelhardt & Hana Pacalova, 2003. "Do Cross-National Differences in the Costs of Children Generate Cross-National Differences in Fertility Rates?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 355, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp355
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    Cited by:

    1. Maria Alessandra Antonelli & Veronica Grembi, 2009. "Asili nidi e livelli di governo: evidenze da una prima ricognizione dei comuni italiani," ECONOMIA PUBBLICA, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 0(5-6), pages 45-74.
    2. Kristen Harknett & Francesco Billari & Carla Medalia, 2014. "Do Family Support Environments Influence Fertility? Evidence from 20 European Countries," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 30(1), pages 1-33, February.
    3. Ross Guest & Nick Parr, 2010. "The Effects of Family Benefits on Childbearing Decisions: A Household Optimising Approach Applied to Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 86(275), pages 609-619, December.
    4. Anne Gauthier, 2007. "The impact of family policies on fertility in industrialized countries: a review of the literature," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 26(3), pages 323-346, June.
    5. repec:kap:jfamec:v:39:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10834-017-9548-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Cygan-Rehm, Kamila & Maeder, Miriam, 2013. "The effect of education on fertility: Evidence from a compulsory schooling reform," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 35-48.
    7. Gerda Neyer & Gunnar Andersson, 2008. "Consequences of Family Policies on Childbearing Behavior: Effects or Artifacts?," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 34(4), pages 699-724.
    8. Ronald R. Rindfuss & Minja Kim Choe & Sarah R. Brauner-Otto, 2016. "The Emergence of Two Distinct Fertility Regimes in Economically Advanced Countries," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 35(3), pages 287-304, June.
    9. Whitney Schott, 2012. "Going Back Part-time: Family Leave Legislation and Women’s Return to Work," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 31(1), pages 1-30, February.

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