Work package 4: The micro level: fertility behaviour

Work package leader

Zsolt Spéder
Demographic Research Institute
H-1024 Budapest
Keleti Károly út 5-7


  • Based on relevant theories and adequate econometric models for the use of panel data, to locate those social, economic, cultural and ideational factors that determine fertility intentions and their realisation at the micro-level.
  • To carry out an international comparative study across the European countries where panel survey data are available: Bulgaria, France, Hungary, Italy, Norway, United Kingdom and the Netherlands. German panel data will also be examined.
  • To study the reasons why intentions to have a child may remain unrealised.
  • To provide policy-oriented summarized findings.

Description of work

Task 1. The work will begin with a study of the state of the art regarding relevant research as well as theories and methods. Specific emphasis will be given to economic theories and to ideational change. The panel data will be examined for the way the selected theories and approaches have been operationalised. On this basis adequate econometric models and methods of analyses will be selected.

Task 2. A comparative study of Bulgaria and Hungary will be produced. It is expected that factors that influence births in these countries will be in part different from those in the other countries, particularly with respect to uncertainty.

Task 3. The other partners will carry out studies for separate countries.

Task 4. A comparative analysis of all results will be carried out with the purpose to identify similarities and differences among all countries, on one side, and among old and new members of the European Union, on the other. The analysis will consider unrealised fertility intentions in particular. The findings will be summarized for a submission to work package 7 (policy implications). Specific findings will be provided to other work packages according to their needs.


  • A completed comparative analysis of Bulgaria and Hungary.
  • Country-specific analyses for the other countries.
  • A summary of all findings.