Volume 29 - Article 37 | Pages 963-998

Family policies in the context of low fertility and social structure

By Thomas Fent, Belinda Aparicio Diaz, Alexia Prskawetz

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Date received:22 Nov 2011
Date published:13 Nov 2013
Word count:9774
Keywords:agent-based computational demography, family policy, low fertility, social effects, social networks, social structures
DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2013.29.37
Additional files:Animated Lexis diagram (MP4 file, 138 kB)
 

Abstract

Objective: In this paper we investigate the effectiveness of family policies in the context of the social structure of a population.

Methods: We use an agent-based model to analyse the impact of policies on individual fertility decisions and on fertility at the aggregate level. The crucial features of our model are the interactions between family policies and social structure, the agents’ heterogeneity, and the structure and influence of the social network. This modelling framework allows us to disentangle the direct effect (the alleviation of resource constraints) from the indirect effect (the diffusion of fertility intentions via social ties) of family policies.

Results: Our results indicate that family policies have a positive and significant impact on fertility. In addition, the specific characteristics of the social network and social effects do not only relate to fertility, but also influence the effectiveness of family policies.

Conclusions: Family policies can only be successful if they are designed to take into account the characteristics of the society in which they are implemented.

Author's Affiliation

Thomas Fent - Vienna Institute of Demography, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austria [Email]
Belinda Aparicio Diaz - Vienna Institute of Demography, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austria [Email]
Alexia Prskawetz - Vienna University of Technology, Austria [Email]

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