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Institutet för Framtidsstudier - Institute for Futures Studies Arbetsrapport, Institutet för Framtidsstudier - Institute for Futures Studies

No 2003:7:
What Future for Europe? New perspectives in post-industrial fertility issues.

Béatrice Daumerie

Abstract: Europe has undergone profound changes in fertility behaviour in the last decades. After years of falling fertility, it seems that we have now reached a phase of stabilisation in most countries of the European Union. However, stabilisation has occurred at very different levels in different part of Europe. Looking for explanations for these differences should help us to understand the underlying factors behind fertility behaviour in post- industrial societies. Limited time being one of the most fundamental constraints in post-industrial societies, we focus on the opportunity cost of childbearing as the main fertility-inhibiting factor. Therefore, particular attention is devoted to the relationship between female paid employment and fertility and to the gender division of work within households. The division of work between men and women seems to be the result of a bargaining process between partners where relative bargaining positions are defined by social norms and relative earnings. Eventually, we argue that the relative distribution of the opportunity cost of childbearing between genders affects fertility levels across Europe.

Keywords: Fertility levels Europe; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: J00; (follow links to similar papers)

40 pages, June 2003

ISBN 91-89655-36-2

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