The possible negative consequences of current low fertility levels are causing increasing concern, particularly in countries where the total fertility rate is below 1.5. Social inertia and self‐reinforcing processes may make it difficult to return to higher levels once fertility has been very low for some time, creating a possible “low‐fertility trap.” Policies explicitly addressing the fertility‐depressing effect of increases in the mean age at child‐bearing (the tempo effect) may be a way to raise period fertility to somewhat higher levels and help escape the “low‐fertility trap” before it closes. Reforms in the school system may affect the timing of childbearing by lowering the age at completion of education. A more efficient school system, which provides the same qualifications with a younger school‐leaving age, is potentially capable of increasing period fertility and hence exerting a rejuvenating effect on the age composition, even if the levels of cohort fertility remain unchanged. Such policies may also have a positive effect on completed cohort fertility.
Population and Development Review – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 2005
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