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Does economic development drive the fertility rebound in OECD countries?

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  • Angela Luci

    () (INED - Institut national d'études démographiques)

  • Olivier Thevenon

    () (INED - Institut national d'études démographiques)

Abstract

We examine how far changes in fertility trends are related to ongoing economic development in OECD countries. In the light of the inverse J-shaped relationship between the human development index (HDI) and total fertility rates that was recently found by Myrskylä, Kohler and Billari (2009), we single out the impact of economic development on fertility. We empirically test the hypothesis of a convex impact of GDP per capita on fertility, using data from the OECD area that spans the years 1960 to 2007. We test the robustness of our findings by controlling for birth postponement and for different income distribution patterns. By designating a clear turning point in the relationship between economic development and fertility, we find that economic development is likely to induce a fertility rebound, but is not sufficient to lift fertility to a significantly higher level in all OECD countries. Country-specific factors explain why countries with similar GDP per capita levels achieve significantly lower or higher fertility rates than the estimated baseline, however. By decomposing GDP per capita into several variables, we identify female employment as the main factor impacting fertility, behind GDP variations. The positive association between the increase in female employment and fertility rates suggests a key role played by the changes in norms and institutions supporting the combination of work and family that go along with the process of economic development.

Suggested Citation

  • Angela Luci & Olivier Thevenon, 2010. "Does economic development drive the fertility rebound in OECD countries?," Working Papers hal-00520948, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-00520948
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00520948
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    File URL: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00520948/document
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lindh, Thomas & Malmberg, Bo, 1996. "Age Structure Effects and Growth in the OECD, 1950-90: Further Evidence," Working Paper Series 1996:12, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    2. David de la Croix & Matthias Doepke, 2003. "Inequality and Growth: Why Differential Fertility Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1091-1113, September.
    3. José María Da Rocha & Luisa Fuster, 2006. "Why Are Fertility Rates And Female Employment Ratios Positively Correlated Across O.E.C.D. Countries?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1187-1222, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kenneth Harttgen & Sebastian Vollmer, 2014. "A Reversal in the Relationship of Human Development With Fertility?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(1), pages 173-184, February.
    2. Zahia Ouadah-Bedidi, 2012. "Fécondité et nuptialité différentielles en Algérie : l'apport du recensement de 1998," Working Papers 185, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED).
    3. Cora Leonie Mezger Kveder, 2013. "Temporary Migration : A Review of the literature," Working Papers 188, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED).
    4. Peter McDonald, 2013. "Societal foundations for explaining fertility: Gender equity," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 28(34), pages 981-994, May.
    5. Carl Schmertmann & Emilio Zagheni & Joshua R. Goldstein & Mikko Myrskylä, 2014. "Bayesian Forecasting of Cohort Fertility," Journal of the American Statistical Association, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 109(506), pages 500-513, June.
    6. Izabella Kuncz & Éva Berde, 2016. "Is the “Beckerian” quantity-quality tradeoff regarding the offspring always true? Analysis of NTA data," EcoMod2016 9590, EcoMod.
    7. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0580-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Creina Day, 2012. "Will Fertility Rebound In Japan," Asia Pacific Economic Papers 395, Australia-Japan Research Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    9. Wang, Qingfeng & Sun, Xu, 2016. "The Role of Socio-political and Economic Factors in Fertility Decline: A Cross-country Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 360-370.
    10. Mikko Myrskyla & Hans-Peter Kohler & Francesco C. Billari, 2011. "High development and fertility: fertility at older reproductive ages and gender equality explain the positive link," Working Papers 049, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
    11. Barbara Hofmann & Michaela Kreyenfeld & Arne Uhlendorff, 2017. "Job Displacement and First Birth Over the Business Cycle," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(3), pages 933-959, June.
    12. Mikko Myrskylä & Joshua R. Goldstein & Yen-hsin Alice Cheng, 2012. "New cohort fertility forecasts for the developed world," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2012-014, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    13. Marie-Thérèse Letablier & Anne Salles, 2012. "Labour market uncertainties for the young workforce in France and Germany : implications for family formation and fertily," Working Papers 180, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    demographic economics; fertility; economic development; female employment; economics of gender; développement économique; fécondité; croissance;

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