Egalitarian gender attitudes within relations and their impact on fertility

Gustav Feichtinger, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU), Vienna Institute of Demography/Austrian Academy of Science
Jon Caulkins, Carnegie Mellon University
Alexia Fürnkranz-Prskawetz, Vienna University of Technology
Andrea Seidl, Vienna University of Technology
Stefan Wrzaczek, Vienna University of Technology

A decline and subsequent recovery of fertility was observed in several industrialised countries during the last decades. Parallel to this development significant social changes occurred particularly with respect to the roles of women within families and society. In the present paper we propose a mechanism that provides an explanation for the fertility development associated to the diffusion of egalitarian family values. More specific we set up a two-sex model where each sex is composed of egalitarian versus traditional individuals. The level of fertility is determined by the specific combination of the partners. When an egalitarian female (who pursues a career outside the home) marries a traditional male (who does not help with housework) they will have fewer children as compared to a couple where both are egalitarian or traditional or she is traditional and he is egalitarian. Thus, over the course of the transition from a traditional to an egalitarian society, when females first adopt the egalitarian value and males lack behind, fertility will inevitabely fall. During time when the share of egalitarian females and males increases fertility will recover again. We show that the quantitative effect of the decline of fertility as well as the timining of recovery of fertility substantially depends on differences in the adoption speed of egalitarian family values between males and females.

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Presented in Session 63: Childcare, work and family

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