The present study addresses the issue of economic insecurity and its relationship with the reproductive plans of 5,358 Italian women in couples who have recently had their first child. Data were sourced from the ISTAT Sample Survey on Births, 2005 edition. This article’s originality lies in the conceptualization of economic insecurity and the investigation of its effects on fertility intentions. We propose to capture economic insecurity by considering both the insecurity associated to the two partners’ employment status and a variety of aspects that contribute to the household’s ability to cope with possible unpredictable future events. Then, we investigate whether and how economic insecurity shapes the fertility intentions of women over their entire reproductive life span. With specific respect to women who intend to have one additional child only, we also observe the effect of economic insecurity on their intention to give birth sooner (i.e., within the next 3 years) or later. Our data show the existence of a critical factor in the passage from the generic fertility intentions to the contingent plan to have a child in the next 3 years: only half of women with one child who intend to follow the two-child family model feel ready to plan to have a second child in the next 3 years. The study also reinforces an argument that is frequently made: fertility intentions over the entire lifetime are less conditioned upon contingent constraints, and are often more closely related to individual traits and/or preferences.
Population Research and Policy Review – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 12, 2013
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