Family policies and childbearing behavior. Theoretical and methodological aspects of research on the impact of family policies on fertility
Gerda Neyer, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Gunnar Andersson, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
This paper deals with the relationship between family policies and fertility. We argue that studies of the effects of policies need to be designed in a way that makes it possible to measure potential effects (or non-effects). The first part of the paper deals with theoretical aspects of this issue. We look at the different ways in which family policies are conceptualized in family-policy research and sketch the consequences of different conceptualizations for demographic research. The second part of the paper deals with methodological issues. We argue that the effects of family policies on fertility can only be assessed properly if we study the impact of family policies on individual behavior, event-history models applied to individual-level data being the state-of-the-art. We show that investigations into the effects of family policies on childbearing and fertility need to contextualize family policies and take their features, time, space, and usage into account.
Presented in Session 52: Socioeconomic influences on fertility