How Would "Tempo Policies" Work?

Wolfgang Lutz, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Vegard Skirbekk, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

Current period fertility rates in most very low fertility countries are depressed partly because of a tempo effect resulting from an increase in the mean age of childbearing. Lutz et al. ("Europe's population at a turning point", Science, Vol.299:1991-2) demonstrated that population aging and shrinking in the EU would be significantly weaker without this tempo effect. Given widespread resistance to direct government interference with private family size decisions, policies that aim to affect the tempo rather than family size may be more acceptable. Policies reducing further delays in childbearing would also have a strong health rationale. We discuss several mechanisms through which tempo policies could affect fertility, including the impact of changes in the educational system on the tempo of fertility. We present calculations for Bavaria, where the duration of high school will be shortened by one year, a measure that is likely to affect the timing of births.

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Presented in Session 82: Fertility Policies