Babies and Bosses ‐ Reconciling Work and Family Life (Volume 2) Austria, Ireland and Japan: Family Formation: Does More Work Lead to Fewer Births?

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Abstract:

Birth rates have declined continually over the last decades, while at the same time female employment has steadily increased. Are these two features related? To what extent are pursuing a career and establishing a family mutually exclusive activities, or does dual earnership in couple families lead to postponement of having children or to having fewer children than otherwise desired? What, if anything, can policy do? This chapter addresses these issues . It starts by describing socio‐demographic changes in recent years, and the factors behind these changes. It then addresses the changing relationship between fertility and female employment. This leads into a discussion of different policies and socio‐economic trends (and theories thereon) that affect fertility behaviour. The chapter concludes by considering what role family‐friendly policies may possibly play in, if not reversing, then at least abating the downward trend in birth rates. It concludes that policies that focus on reducing the indirect costs for mothers to work by offering affordable quality childcare, regular part‐time employment opportunities and, generally making the labour market more inclusive, seem to be the most promising avenue towards improving birth rates...

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: November 1, 2003

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