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Job Instability and Family Planning: Insights from the Italian Puzzle

Listed author(s):
  • Fabio Sabatini

    (University of Trento, Euricse and University of Siena)

This paper carries out an investigation into the socio-economic determinants of couples’ childbearing decisions in Italy. Since having children is in most cases a “couple matter”, the analysis accounts for the characteristics of both the possible parents. Our results do not support established theoretical predictions according to which the increase in the opportunity cost of motherhood connected to higher female labour participation is responsible for the fall in fertility. On the contrary, the instability of the women’s work status (i.e. their being occasional, precarious, and low-paid workers) reveals to be a significant dissuasive deterrent discouraging the decision to have children. Couples with unemployed women are less likely to plan childbearing as well. Other relevant explanatory variables are current family size and the strength of family ties.

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Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2010.90.

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Date of creation: Jun 2010
Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2010.90
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  1. 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.
  2. Degli Antoni Giacomo, 2006. "Capitale sociale e crescita economica: una verifica empirica a livello regionale e provinciale," Rivista italiana degli economisti, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 3, pages 363-394.
  3. Del Boca, Daniela & Sauer, Robert M., 2009. "Life cycle employment and fertility across institutional environments," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 274-292, April.
  4. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2004. "The Role of Social Capital in Financial Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 526-556, June.
  5. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, November.
  6. Sabatini, Fabio, 2009. "Social capital as social networks: A new framework for measurement and an empirical analysis of its determinants and consequences," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 429-442, June.
  7. Fabio Sabatini, 2008. "Social Capital and the Quality of Economic Development," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 466-499, 08.
  8. Daniela Del Boca & Silvia Pasqua & Chiara Pronzato, 2009. "Motherhood and market work decisions in institutional context: a European perspective," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(suppl_1), pages 147-171, April.
  9. Pedro Mira & Namkee Ahn, 2002. "A note on the changing relationship between fertility and female employment rates in developed countries," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 15(4), pages 667-682.
  10. Fabio Sabatini, 2006. "The Empirics of Social Capital and Economic Development: A Critical Perspective," Working Papers 2006.15, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  11. Ferrera, Maurizio, 2005. "The Boundaries of Welfare: European Integration and the New Spatial Politics of Social Protection," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199284672.
  12. Peri Giovanni, 2004. "Socio-Cultural Variables and Economic Success: Evidence from Italian Provinces 1951-1991," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-36, September.
  13. Alicia Adsera, 2006. "An Economic Analysis of the Gap Between Desired and Actual Fertility: The Case of Spain," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 75-95, 03.
  14. Alícia Adserà, 2004. "Changing fertility rates in developed countries. The impact of labor market institutions," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 17(1), pages 17-43, February.
  15. Leonardi, Robert, 1995. "Regional Development in Italy: Social Capital and the Mezzogiorno," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 165-179, Summer.
  16. Sabatini, Fabio, 2007. "The Role of Social Capital in Economic Development," AICCON Working Papers 43-2007, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.
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