Economic Constraints and Fertility in Europe: The Role of Education

Raffaele Guetto, University of Florence
Daniele Vignoli, University of Florence
Elena Pirani , Florence University

Recent research shows heterogeneous effects of unemployment rates on fertility based on both contextual and individual factors. Negative to positive effects have been found depending on the country of investigation and, at the micro-level, on gender and educational differences. Overall, the effect of rising unemployment rates on women’s fertility behaviour and how such association is moderated by their educational attainment remains uncertain. Our aim is to discuss the relation between unemployment rates and fertility in a selection of European countries 1) distinguishing between male and female unemployment rates to tackle (possible) gendered pattern of unemployment effects; 2) analysing how the effects of unemployment rates on fertility vary by woman’s educational attainment. We use data from the European Labour Force Survey on 18 countries observed between 2005 and 2016, considering indicators at the regional level (NUTS-2). Preliminary results show that women tend to have less children in those regions where unemployment rates grew more than the average growth at national level. The overall negative effect is almost entirely driven by male unemployment rates, the female ones being non-significant. Based on these promising preliminary results, we will consider the role of education as a moderator of the effects of the macroeconomic context. The role of additional context-level labour market indicators – never employed in the European context, such as the diffusion of temporary contracts – will also be tested.

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 Presented in Session 126. Effects of Economic and Political Uncertainty on Fertility