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Does economic development explain the fertility rebound in OECD countries?

Listed author(s):
  • Angela Luci
  • Olivier Thévenon

Fertility fell rapidly in OECD countries in the second half of the twentieth century, a period marked by continuous economic growth in these regions of the world. A trend reversal has been observed in the last decade, however, and fertility hasstarted rising again in the most developed countries against a backdrop of continued economic development. It would seem that there is no simple relationship between economic development and fertility. The trends observed in the thirty OECD countries between 1960 and 2007 show that the relationshipbetween gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and fertility,initially negative (a higher GDP is associated with lower fertility) generally turns positive once a certain development threshold has been reached (fertility increases with GDP) but this is not the case in all countries. Decomposing GDPper capita into its various components - labour productivity, working hours and employment - reveals that the rise in GDP per capita is only associated with increased fertility wheneconomic growth is linked to increased female labour forceparticipation. Enhancing the compatibility between female employment and childbearing is certainly a key factor in raising fertility levels.

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Paper provided by Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED) in its series Population and Societies with number 481.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
Handle: RePEc:idg:posoce:481
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  1. Gilles Pison, 2009. "France 2008: why are birth numbers still rising?," Population and Societies 454, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED).
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