Increasingly Heterogeneous Ages at First Birth by Education in 'Conservative' Southern-European and 'Liberal' Anglo-American Family-Policy Regimes

by Michael S. Rendall, Encarnacion Aracil, Christos Bagavos, Christine Couet, Alessandra DeRose, Paola DiGiulio, Trude Lappegard, Isabelle Robert-Bobee, Marit Ronsen, Steve Smallwood, et al.

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The claim that family-policy regime may influence socio-economic differentials in fertility has to date been explored mainly with respect to ‘liberal’ Anglo-American regimes. The authors broaden the contrast with ‘family-friendly’ regimes here to include in the ‘family-unfriendly’ group ‘conservative’ Southern European regimes. Comparing education differentials in age at first birth, they find educationally-heterogeneous shifts between 1950s and 1960s birth cohorts of women in Greece, Italy, and Spain. The patterns of these shifts are similar to those seen for British and American birth cohorts, and contrast with educationally-homogeneous shifts across birth cohorts in Norway and France. They argue that these findings support the hypothesis that the role of family-policy regime in mediating growth in socio-economic differentials in fertility has increased as combining employment and family has become more normative among women throughout industrialized countries.

This paper series was made possible by the NIA funded RAND Center for the Study of Aging and the NICHD funded RAND Population Research Center.

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