Volume 36 - Article 23 | Pages 691–728
Education, labour, and the demographic consequences of birth postponement in Europe
|Date received:||05 Aug 2016|
|Date published:||23 Feb 2017|
|Keywords:||birth postponement, Europe, family policy, female education, female employment, fertility|
Background: This article questions the demographic consequences of birth postponement in Europe.
Objective: Starting from the fact that there is no obvious link between the timing of first births and fertility levels in Europe, we find that under certain circumstances, birth postponement potentially facilitates rather than impedes starting a family.
Methods: We apply a synthetic cohort approach and distinguish between different socioeconomic determinants of the timing of first births by using the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC). Data is compiled specifically to reduce endogeneity and to eliminate structure effects.
Results: We find that the probability of becoming a mother is higher for women who postpone first childbirth due to education and career investment than for women who postpone due to unrealized labour market integration.
Conclusions: Educated and economically active women certainly postpone first childbirth in comparison to women who are less educated and who are not working, but they end up with a higher probability of starting a family.
Contribution: The article contributes to the academic discussion of circumstances that may lead to birth postponement resulting in higher fertility for younger cohorts in European countries.
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