The Impact of Economic Context on Tempo and Quantum of Fertility. Some Evidence from GGS Countries

Karel Neels, University of Antwerp

The economic recession that recently manifested itself on a global scale raises interest on the effect of economic context on fertility. This paper investigates the effect of unemployment on age-specific first birth hazards. The focus is on period-induced reduction of birth hazards at younger ages and on recuperation mechanisms where births postponed due to adverse period conditions are recuperated later in life. As economic context is likely to differentially affect socio-economic groups, the analysis is stratified by level of education. This allows me to control effectively for the expansion of educational attainment among recent births cohorts and its effect on timing of fertility. Results for Belgium indicate that unemployment has adversely affected birth hazards at younger ages in all socio-economic groups between 1960 and 2000, but that higher educated women have been more successful in overcoming adverse period conditions afterwards. Results for Belgium are compared to those for other GGS countries.

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Presented in Session 150: Low Fertility and Its Association with Macro-Economic Trends