Determining Factors in the Historical Decline in Marital Fertility in Italy

Alberto Veira, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
Jesús J. Sánchez-Barricarte , Carlos III University of Madrid (Spain)

The historical decline in fertility in Italy has been studied by scholars from different disciplines who have tried to explain why the reproductive behaviors of Italian women changed over time. Studies on fertility have long been dominated by the results of the Princeton European Fertility Project (PEFP), but in our opinion these do not attribute the proper weight to socio-economic variables in the processes of demographic transition. This project's shortcomings are probably linked to the limited techniques of analysis available at the time, that is, the late 1960s and early 1970s. In this paper we use multivariate analysis techniques through panel cointegrating regressions (FMOLS and DOLS). We collected information for 20 Italian regions over a lengthy period of time (1872-1991). The variables used to explain the socio-economic dynamics (e.g. mortality, education, economic development, urbanization and employment) are the same as those used by other authors in the research conducted in the middle of the last century, but the correlations that emerge invite new and interesting interpretations. The paper concludes by placing an emphasis on the influence that changes in living conditions - economic situation and social status - had on couples' decisions to have children.

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 Presented in Session 130. Fertility over Time and Space