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Trust and fertility dynamics

  • Arnstein Aassve
  • Francesco Billari
  • Léa Pessin

We argue that fertility trends in advanced societies are in part driven by differences in trust. The argument builds around the idea that trust implies individuals and couples being willing to outsource traditional family activities to other individuals outside their own family. Trust is therefore seen as a catalyser for the process of increased female labour force participation, the diffusion of childcare facilities, and hence a halt to the continuing fertility decline. Support of this hypothesis is drawn from the World Values Survey and European Values Survey. We present evidence both from country-level regressions and from a series of multilevel analyses. We find that trust by itself is positively associated with fertility over recent decades. Moreover, trust interacts with women’s education. In particular, as higher education for women has expanded, which traditionally is seen as a robust predictor for lower fertility, trust is a precondition for achieving higher fertility among those women with very high education.

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File URL: ftp://ftp.dondena.unibocconi.it/WorkingPapers/Dondena_WP055.pdf
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Paper provided by "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi in its series Working Papers with number 055.

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Length: 54 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:don:donwpa:055
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  1. Aghion, Philippe & Algan, Yann & Cahuc, Pierre, 2008. "Can Policy Influence Culture? Minimum Wage and the Quality of Labor Relations," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 0801, CEPREMAP.
  2. Paolo Buonanno & Daniel Montolio & Paolo Vanin, 2009. "Does Social Capital Reduce Crime?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(1), pages 145-170, 02.
  3. Christian Bjørnskov, 2007. "Determinants of generalized trust: A cross-country comparison," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 1-21, January.
  4. 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.
  5. Edward L. Glaeser & David I. Laibson & José A. Scheinkman & Christine L. Soutter, 2000. "Measuring Trust," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 811-846, August.
    • Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Durante, Ruben, 2009. "Risk, Cooperation and the Economic Origins of Social Trust: an Empirical Investigation," MPRA Paper 25887, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Angela Luci & Olivier Thevenon, 2010. "Does economic development drive the fertility rebound in OECD countries?," Working Papers hal-00520948, HAL.
  8. Peter McDonald, 2000. "Gender Equity in Theories of Fertility Transition," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 26(3), pages 427-439.
  9. John F. Helliwell & Robert D. Putnam, 1995. "Economic Growth and Social Capital in Italy," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 295-307, Summer.
  10. Alberto Alesina & Paola Giuliano, 2007. "The Power of the Family," NBER Working Papers 13051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Nathan Nunn & Leonard Wantchekon, 2009. "The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa," NBER Working Papers 14783, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Sunnee Billingsley, 2010. "The Post-Communist Fertility Puzzle," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 193-231, April.
  13. Adriaan Kalwij, 2010. "The impact of family policy expenditure on fertility in western Europe," Demography, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 503-519, May.
  14. Esping-Andersen, Gosta, 1999. "Social Foundations of Postindustrial Economies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198742005, March.
  15. Ron Lesthaeghe, 2010. "The Unfolding Story of the Second Demographic Transition," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 36(2), pages 211-251.
  16. repec:ese:iserwp:2007-32 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. John Ermisch & Diego Gambetta & Heather Laurie & Thomas Siedler & S. C. Noah Uhrig, 2009. "Measuring people's trust," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 172(4), pages 749-769.
  18. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-88, November.
  19. Christian Bjørnskov, 2010. "How does social trust lead to better governance? An attempt to separate electoral and bureaucratic mechanisms," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 144(1), pages 323-346, July.
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