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Gender, Time-Use, and Fertility Recovery in Industrialized Countries

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  • García-Manglano, Javier

    () (University of Oxford)

  • Nollenberger, Natalia

    () (IE University)

  • Sevilla, Almudena

    () (University College London)

Abstract

This paper explores gendered patterns of time use as an explanatory factor behind fertility trends in the developed world. We review the theoretical foundations for this link, and assess the existing evidence suggesting that a more equal division of labor within the home leads to more children, both at the household (micro) and country (macro) levels. After decades of unprecedented fertility decline in the industrialized world, only a handful of countries in the West exhibit replacement fertility rates – around two children per woman. Paradoxically, birth rates are substantially lower in countries in which family units (and women within families) remain primarily responsible for familial care obligations, and where the role of the State in the provision of care services is marginal. Very low fertility poses challenges for economic growth and threatens the sustainability of pay-as-you-go welfare systems. It is thus important to understand why some developed countries managed to sustain near-replacement fertility rates or to recover from very low fertility, while others fell and still remain at lowest-low rates of about 1.3 children per woman. Looking at time-use and fertility trends for a few representative industrialized countries, we hint at the existence of a threshold ratio of gender equity in the distribution of domestic work that low fertility countries need to cross before being able to enter a phase of fertility recovery.

Suggested Citation

  • García-Manglano, Javier & Nollenberger, Natalia & Sevilla, Almudena, 2014. "Gender, Time-Use, and Fertility Recovery in Industrialized Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 8613, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8613
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Frances Goldscheider & Eva Bernhardt & Trude Lappegård, 2015. "The Gender Revolution: A Framework for Understanding Changing Family and Demographic Behavior," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 41(2), pages 207-239, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    time-use; housework; demographic transitions; fertility decline; low fertility; fertility trends; fertility recovery; gender equity; gender attitudes; childcare; gender division of housework; Multinational Time Use Study; time allocation; time diary data;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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