Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Pro-Natalism and Fertility

Fertility and Migrants in Italy

This is just a snippet. In this post we had some interesting discussion on the impact of migrants on population dynamics in Sweden and Minnesota (see especially comments). One of the conclusions which I think we reached was that the impact of migration on fertility depended on the level of fertility in the origin country and on the proportion of migrants in the childbearing-age-population.
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Fertility, Patriarchy, and Politics

Now I am certain that Phillip Longman's article from the March issue of Foreign Policy - "The Return of Patriarchy" did not escape the attention of the readers and contributors of this blog. I wanted to revisit it in order to highlight the points which Edward discussed in his latest post. Longman argues:
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Does family policy affect fertility?

Well according to Anders Björklund, of Stockholm University, and based on the Swedish experience, it does. The linked paper is in fact his presidential address to the European Society for Population Economics meeting in Athens in 2001. Björklund's arguments are interesting, especially for those who have been following the discussion we have been having on DM about the birth postponement phenomenon: in fact much of the fluctuation in registered tfrs seen in Sweden can be related to this postponement process (average age at first birth in Sweden is now around the 29 mark), and the conclusion he comes to is a surprising one, that pro-natalist policy has been particularly effective in Sweden (even when compared with other Scandinavian countries) because the package has inadvertently (that is it was not the original explicit objective) incorporated a 'speed bonus' which encouraged families to move rapidly from the first child to second and subsequent ones and this has had an impact on fertility.
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Sweden, Pro-Natalism, Baby Booms and Demographic Transitions, Continued

This is a continuation of my last post, since looking again at what I said, and examining the Swedish experience a bit more closely, I think I may have overdone things a little. This point was made clear to me by a comment from Stefan Geens who drew attention to the rather complicated picture which the Swedish case offers us. The core of the problem is to be found in this statement from Mark Ammerman:

"Despite all the effort Sweden has never since then risen over or even near replacement fertility."
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Sweden, Pro-Natalism, Baby Booms and Demographic Transitions

A commentor on my Bonobo Land blog has been poking around the fertility issue and coming up with some interesting points. Now I'm sure Mark Ammerman is far from being in 100% agreement with what I am saying in general about fertility, but he is making what seems to me to be a genuine attempt to sort out for himself what it is that actually lies behind the phenomenon of low fertility.
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Pro-natalism that Works ... Evidence from Estonia?

Recently, many commenters here on DM has flagged the idea of pro-natalism (rather sloppy Wiki.Pedia article!) as a possible working solution for countries with low (lowest-low) fertility and more specifically lamented the absence of talk about this in the entries posted here at DM. This is consequently to make amends on this and to present some of the arguments pro and con pro-natalism as we have discussed them in the comments sections on various posts. Before we do this though let us look at a country in Eastern Europe with low fertility where pro-natalism actually seems to have worked at least given the initial evidence (hat tip to Stirling for pointing towards Estonia in the comments on a previous post). Lastly, before we dig into the description of Estonia it might usefull for you to acquaint yourself with the general demographic situation in Eastern Europe and more specifically EU-8 (the lynx economies). To that end, this post from my blog has some good initial references and description.
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