Working Women, Husband's Home Time, and Lowest-Low Fertility in Europe

Joost DeLaat, Brown University
Almudena Sevilla-Sanz, Brown University

Traditional economic models predict a negative correlation between female labor force participation and fertility. However, rapid fertility declines in Southern Europe have lead to a reversal of this relationship at the aggregate level. We reconcile these results by developing a simple model that looks at the heterogeneity in attitudes toward women's home time and husbands' willingness to participate in housework. We use the ISSP 94 data to test the model. This multi-country household survey contains detailed information on attitudes toward gender roles as well as data on division of housework. Consistent with the model we find that more conservative countries with less egalitarian views on gender roles have lower average fertility. This relationship operates through lower average levels of husbands' home time. Our estimates also suggest that the intertemporal reversal in the correlation may be attributed to a secular increase in female schooling over this period.

  See paper

Presented in Session 93: Very Low Fertility II