Using data for 1960–97 for 22 low fertility countries, we document a dramatic change in the association of fertility levels to women's levels of labor force participation. Until the 1980s, this association had been strongly negative. However, during the 1980s itbecame positive, and since 1990 strongly positive. We also document an emerging positive association of the country-level total fertility ratio (TFR) and nonmarital ratio (e.g., the proportion of births to unmarried women). We argue that these transformed associations reflect societal level responses that, in some contexts, have eased the incompatibility between mother and worker roles, and loosened the link betweenmarriage and childbearing. These arguments imply that societal responses to mother/worker incompatibility exert substantial influence on fertility levels in low fertility countries.
Population Research and Policy Review – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 17, 2004
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