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What are the factors of the gap between desired and actual fertility? - A comparative study of four developed countries


  • Tomo Nishimura

    () (School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University)


This study is an analysis of the gap between the desired and actual number of children for four developed countries. Although the direct costs of raising children is an indispensable element in decision-making regarding having children, it has hardly been treated in relevant studies. We estimate the achievement rate of having the desired number of children by many possible elements, including the direct costs of raising children. The results show significant negative impacts of these direct costs as well as delayed marriage as the main causes for low achievement of desired fertility (Japanese men and women, Korean men). Also, the sexual division of labor affects the wife’s achievement rate in Japan, depending on the husband’s employment situation. No noteworthy negative impact was found in the case of high achievement of desired fertility (French men and women, American men).Our results suggest that reducing the direct costs of raising children and stabilizing the employment situation should be given priority rather than other measures with regard to achieving desired fertility.

Suggested Citation

  • Tomo Nishimura, 2012. "What are the factors of the gap between desired and actual fertility? - A comparative study of four developed countries," Discussion Paper Series 81, School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University, revised Feb 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:kgu:wpaper:81

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. A. Colin Cameron & Pravin K. Trivedi, 2010. "Microeconometrics Using Stata, Revised Edition," Stata Press books, StataCorp LP, number musr, December.
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    More about this item


    Fertility; Costs of children; Work-life balance; Job security;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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