Correspondence between fertility intentions and behaviour in Austria: a couple analysis

Maria Rita Testa, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)

Using longitudinal data from the Austrian Generation and Gender Survey conducted in 2008 and in 2013, I investigate the effects of couple disagreement about short-term fertility desires on subsequent actual behaviour. The findings show that the perception of disagreement with the partner about wanting a(nother) child has inhibiting effects on the birth of a child and that these effects vary by parity, gender, and gender equality within the couple. Men tend to have more influence in the decision of a first child while women tend to prevail in the decision of a higher birth order child. At parity zero, the disagreement has an outcome in between that of agreement on yes and that of agreement on not having a child, at higher parities the conflict is solved more often with a lack of a birth. This paper calls for the collection of data from both members of a couple so that the analysis of the partner’s actual desires can complement the analysis of the partner’s perceived desires.

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Presented in Session 107: Unions and fertility

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