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Fertility decisions and pension reforms. Evidence from natural experiments in Italy

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  • Francesco C. Billari

    (Department of Sociology and Nuffield College, University of Oxford)

  • Vincenzo Galasso

    (CEPRA, IGIER, Università Bocconi and CEPR)

Abstract

The emergence of old-age social security has been linked to general fertility decline, and in recent years pension reforms have emerged as a response to the challenges of population ageing, in turn partially a consequence of fertility decline. Understanding the link between social security and low fertility is therefore very important. In this paper we analyse the link between fertility and social security in a novel way. We exploit a series of pension reforms that were implemented in Italy, one of the first ‘lowest-low’ fertility societies, during the 1990s, to test the effect of expected retirement income on fertility. The design of the reforms, which introduced a discontinuity depending on the numbers of years of contributions, allows considering them as a natural experiment. We analyse fertility data reconstructed from a series of surveys from the Bank of Italy and show that couples in which the husband was affected by the reform, therefore facing a lower pension, had subsequently higher fertility.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco C. Billari & Vincenzo Galasso, 2014. "Fertility decisions and pension reforms. Evidence from natural experiments in Italy," IdEP Economic Papers 1403, USI Università della Svizzera italiana.
  • Handle: RePEc:lug:wpidep:1403
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Alessandro Cigno & Alessandro Gioffré & Annalisa Luporini, 2021. "Evolution of individual preferences and persistence of family rules," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 935-958, December.
    3. Richard C. Barnett & Joydeep Bhattacharya & Mikko Puhakka, 2018. "Private versus public old-age security," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 31(3), pages 703-746, July.
    4. Alessandro Cigno & Mizuki Komura & Annalisa Luporini, 2017. "Self-enforcing family rules, marriage and the (non)neutrality of public intervention," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 30(3), pages 805-834, July.
    5. Jäger, Philipp, 2017. "Bismarck in the bedroom? Pension reform and fertility: Evidence 1870-2010," VfS Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168078, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    old-age security; quantity-quality trade-off; public pension systems; fertility; altruism;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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