Partisan Fertility Response in the Wake of the Great Recession in Sweden

Chiara Ludovica Comolli, University of Lausanne
Gunnar Andersson , Stockholm University

Fertility in Sweden has been in constant but moderate decline since 2010. The timing of the onset of decline suggests a link to the economic crisis that hit advanced economies in 2008 although macroeconomic indicators seem not able to explain continued fertility declines. The Great Recession in Europe and beyond, however, was accompanied by other events that might influence fertility. In our study we focus on the declining trust in social systems that is reflected in growing political support for right-wing populist parties. In Sweden, the Sweden Democrats (SD) increased their vote share from 2.9% in the 2006 elections to 17.5% in 2018. Our study addresses whether differential exposure to populist sentiments is related to fertility change during and after the Great Recession. Any negative sentiments triggered by the events in 2008 may be more strongly at play in municipalities with higher support for the SD, which in turn may be related to childbearing outcomes. We use Swedish register data to construct complete individual-level fertility histories of all Swedish women. We link each woman to the share of votes obtained by the SD in her municipality of residence in three elections (2006, 2010, 2014). We use a multilevel model to estimate how changes in the support for Sweden Democrats (SD) over time and across municipalities influence fertility behaviour, net of observed individual-level and municipality characteristics.

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 Presented in Session 115. Fertility