Income and Childbearing Decisions: evidence from Italy

Publication type

Conference Paper


Demography Workshop


Publication date

May 23, 2006


During the early 1990s, Italy has been one of the first countries to reach lowest-low fertility, i.e. below 1.3 children per woman. In this paper we focus on the period during which such fertility levels arose in order to assess the impact of income on fertility decisions. So far, analyses have suffered from the lack of appropriate data; we create a new data set making use of two different surveys from Bank of Italy (SHIW) and ISTAT (Labor Force Survey) and we apply discrete-time duration models. For first births, we find evidence of non-proportional hazards and of some 'recuperation' effect: women with high predicted wages tend to delay the first birth, subsequently recuperating. For second and third births, instead, the availability of a good child-care system seems to play a key role and income exhibits small intensity. In a final section, we explore the possible effect on fertility of an increase in financial support for poorer families that took place in 1999.

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