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Do Family Support Environments Influence Fertility? Evidence from 20 European Countries
European Journal of Population (2014)
  • Kristen Harknett
Using data from two recent waves of the European Social Survey, we examine the relationship between macro-level supports for child rearing and individual-level fertility outcomes. We characterize country-level support environments across a broader set of domains than is typical, including supports from institutions, labor markets, extended families, and male partners. With rare exceptions, we find significant relationships between family support environment indicators and second or higher order births. In contrast, the relationship between family support environment indicators and first births is weaker and less often significant. This pattern accords with theory that practical considerations are more important for the second and subsequent births than for the transition to parenthood. Although most forms of support are positively related to fertility, we document a negative relationship between intergenerational exchange of support and higher order fertility. Our analyses also reveal that macro-level support environments are related to childbearing plans in much the same way as they are related to having a child, buttressing the argument that understanding the determinants of childbearing plans can help us to understand childbearing behavior.
  • Fertility,
  • fertility intentions,
  • European Fertility,
  • Family Policy,
  • Labor Markets,
  • Intergenerational Exchange,
  • Gender Equity,
  • Housework
Publication Date
Citation Information
Kristen Harknett. "Do Family Support Environments Influence Fertility? Evidence from 20 European Countries" European Journal of Population Vol. 30 (2014) p. 1 - 33
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