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I Would if I Could: Precarious Employment and Childbearing Intentions in Italy

Modena, Francesca and Sabatini, Fabio (2010): I Would if I Could: Precarious Employment and Childbearing Intentions in Italy.

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Abstract

This paper carries out an investigation into the socio-economic determinants of childbearing decisions made by couples in Italy. The analysis accounts for the characteristics of both possible parents. Our results do not support established theoretical predictions according to which the increase in the opportunity cost of motherhood connected to higher female labour participation is responsible for the fall in fertility. On the contrary, the instability of women’s work status (i.e. having occasional, precarious, and low-paid positions) is revealed as a significant dissuasive factor in the decision to have children. Couples in which there is an unemployed woman are less likely to plan childbearing as well. Other relevant explanatory variables are women’s age, men’s work status and education, women’s citizenship, marital status and perceived economic well-being.

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