Securing women's employment: A fertility booster in European countries?

Abstract : This article gives evidence that differences in completed fertility among European countries emerge mainly as a result of fewer women having a second child in low fertility countries and analyses the impact of women’s employment on the probability of second child birth. With longitudinal data from the European Survey of Income and Living conditions (EU-SILC) and aggregated data from the OECD Family Database, we find that, on average within European countries, women in stable employment have a significantly higher probability of second childbirth than inactive or unemployed women. However, while female employment generally favours a transition to second childbirth in high-fertility countries, the impact is heterogenous in low-fertility countries. This points to a work-life balance conflict that is stronger in low-fertility countries. To address this issue, multilevel models are run to compare the role of various policies: not surprisingly, they show that childcare policies – which are the most effective policies to secure women’s employment – are the most likely to encourage couples to enlarge their families and that the positive effect of stable employment on fertility is reinforced by this policy.
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Angela Greulich, Olivier Thevenon, Mathilde Guergoat-Larivière. Securing women's employment: A fertility booster in European countries?. 2016. ⟨hal-01298862⟩

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