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Does economic development explain the fertility rebound in OECD countries?

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  • Angela Luci
  • Olivier Thévenon

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Angela Luci & Olivier Thévenon, 2011. "Does economic development explain the fertility rebound in OECD countries?," Population and Societies 481, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED).
  • Handle: RePEc:idg:posoce:481
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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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    Cited by:

    1. Creina Day, 2015. "Skill Composition, Fertility, and Economic Growth," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 61(1), pages 164-178, March.
    2. Piotr Dominiak & Ewa Lechman & Anna Okonowicz, 2015. "Fertility Rebound And Economic Growth. New Evidence For 18 Countries Over The Period 1970–2011," Equilibrium. Quarterly Journal of Economics and Economic Policy, Institute of Economic Research, vol. 10(1), pages 91-112, March.
    3. Creina Day, 2016. "Can Theory Explain the Evidence on Fertility Decline Reversal?," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 49(2), pages 136-145, February.
    4. Piotr Dominiak & Ewa Lechman & Anna Okonowicz, 2014. "The Fertility Rebound And Economic Growth. New Evidence For 18 Countries Over The Period 1970-2011," GUT FME Working Paper Series A 23, Faculty of Management and Economics, Gdansk University of Technology.
    5. Creina Day, 2012. "Economic Growth, Gender Wage Gap and Fertility Rebound," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 88(s1), pages 88-99, June.
    6. Buckles, Kasey, 2017. "Maternal Socio-Economic Status and the Well-Being of the Next Generation(s)," IZA Discussion Papers 10714, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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