The Impact of Low-Skilled Immigration on Fertility Decisions of Natives in Italy

Sara Giunti , University of Milano Bicocca
Mariapia Mendola, University of Milano_Bicocca

The paper provides some evidence on the impact of low-skilled immigration on fertility trends in Italy. Immigrant inflows may interfere with fertility decisions of native women in several ways. First, the inflow of low-skilled immigrants, especially of women, in the domestic service industry brings to an increase in the availability of childcare and a reduction in the costs of child rearing. However, this could translate in an increase of labour supply by native women due to the rise of the opportunity cost of spending time at home, instead of an increase in fertility. Second, given the higher fertility rates of foreign women, the presence of immigrant families in the same area may lead to a decrease in the availability of public-provided social services, or an increase of their relative costs, that may discourage native women from having children. Using administrative data at the province level, we find a positive relationship between immigrant inflows and total fertility rates of women. We next test the mechanisms determining this effect, by investigating how native women respond to lower costs of (private) childcare in terms of labour supply decisions, using data from the European Labour Force Survey (EU – LFS). Additionally, we explore the relationship between presence of immigrant families, availability of socio-educational services for infancy and fertility rates of foreign and native women.

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 Presented in Session P3. Poster Session Migration, Economics, Environment, Methods, History and Policy