Work package leader
Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute
P.O. Box 11650
NL-2502 AR The Hague
The objective of this work package is to directly address the macro-micro link by studying the influence of economic, cultural and institutional macro-level factors on fertility processes and outcomes. In particular, three specific goals are envisaged:
- Increasing our understanding about differences across Europe in the perceived norms concerning fertility-related behaviour
- Increasing our understanding about differences across Europe in the intentions concerning fertility-related behaviour
- Increasing our understanding about differences across Europe in the timing of entry into parenthood and the number of children people have
Description of work
The aim of this work package is to study the influence of macro-level factors on individual-level fertility attitudes and behaviour. Attention will be focused on personal norms concerning fertility behaviour, intentions concerning fertility behaviour and the actual fertility behaviour itself. All three tasks within this work package will use large-scale individual-level datasets that cover many European countries. The same methodological approach will be used in each task. Specifically, multi-level models will be used to study to what extent these norms, intentions and behaviours differ between individuals within a country and to what extent country-level differences play a role. In addition, these models will be used to assess to what extent these differences can be explained by taking relevant institutional, cultural and economic factors into account. The three main tasks are:
Task 1. Perceived norms concerning fertility are one of the least understood micro-level determinants of fertility decisions. The 2006 wave of the European Social Survey (ESS) held in 26 European countries offers an excellent opportunity to increase our understanding of both micro- and macro-level determinants of these norms. Examples of such norms are norms about the appropriate timing of fertility (when are people considered to be too old or too young to have a child?), norms about childlessness and norms about the sequencing of childbearing within the whole of the life course (is it appropriate to have children if one is cohabiting unmarried?; is it appropriate to combine motherhood and full-time labour force participation?). Special attention will be paid to the extent to which different norms are thought to apply to men and women.
Task 2. Fertility intentions occupy a pivotal position in our decision-making model. In the 2006 wave of the Eurobarometer survey, held in 29 European countries, information on intentions about the number of children people want and about the timing of the birth of children has been collected. These data will be used to study the influence of macro-level factors on fertility intentions. ISSP wave 2002 will also be examined.
Task 3. Studies of cross-national variation in the timing of entry into parenthood and in the number of children people have, are hampered by the fact that comparable micro-level data on these issues are scarce. Available data often are rather old or only cover a small number of countries. We will use recent data from the 2006 wave of the ESS to study cross-national differences in the timing of entry into parenthood and in the number of children people have. Information on the timing and quantum of fertility is available for men and women in 26 European countries.
- Report on analysis of ESS data on cross-national differences in perceived norms concerning fertility-related behaviour.
- Report on analysis of Eurobarometer data on cross-national differences in fertility intentions.
- Report on analysis of ESS data on cross-national differences in the timing and quantum of fertility.