Journal Article

The impact of labor-force participation on childbearing behavior: pro-cyclical fertility in Sweden during the 1980s and the 1990s

Andersson, G.
European Journal of Population, 16:4, 293–333 (2000)


During the latest two decades, Sweden has experienced strong fluctuations both in its economy and in its level of childbearing. A period of high employment and increasing fertility has been followed by a period of lower employment and decreasing fertility since the beginning of the 1990s. In this paper, we use register data for Swedish women in order to examine how various types of attachment to the labor market affect women’s propensity to give birth at different parities. Specifically, we show what impact changes in women’s employment status have had on recorded fertility trends in Sweden. We find that women who have relatively low levels of income and women who are enrolled as students generally have lower fertility than other women. We also find that a rise in the number of women with such characteristics can explain part of the decrease in fertility during the 1990s. It is evident, however, that other factors, working at the macro level, also have to be considered when one wants to explain the fluctuating fertility of Sweden. Social policy is one such factor. In sum, we find a pattern of pro-cyclical fertility, where levels of female earnings are positively related to levels of childbearing. (© 2001 KLUWER ACADEMIC PUBLISHERS)
Keywords: childbearing, employment, female employment, fertility
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