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Does Broadband Internet Affect Fertility?

Author

Listed:
  • Billari, Francesco C.

    () (Bocconi University)

  • Giuntella, Osea

    () (University of Pittsburgh)

  • Stella, Luca

    () (Bocconi University)

Abstract

The spread of high-speed Internet epitomizes the digital revolution, affecting several aspects of our life. Using German panel data, we test whether the availability of broadband Internet influences fertility choices in a low-fertility setting, which is well-known for the difficulty to combine work and family life. We exploit a strategy devised by Falck et al. (2014) to obtain causal estimates of the impact of broadband on fertility. We find positive effects of high-speed Internet availability on the fertility of high-educated women aged 25 and above. Effects are not statistically significant both for men, low-educated women, and under 25. We also show that broadband access significantly increases the share of women reporting teleworking or part-time working. Furthermore, we find positive effects on time spent with children and overall life satisfaction. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that high-speed Internet allows high-educated women to conciliate career and motherhood, which may promote fertility with a "digital divide". At the same time, higher access to information on the risks and costs of early pregnancy and childbearing may explain the negative effects on younger adults.

Suggested Citation

  • Billari, Francesco C. & Giuntella, Osea & Stella, Luca, 2017. "Does Broadband Internet Affect Fertility?," IZA Discussion Papers 10935, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10935
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Internet; low fertility; work and family; teleworking;

    JEL classification:

    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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