MPIDR Working Paper
Close kin influences on fertility behavior
White, R. G., Bernardi, L.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2008-024, 40 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (October 2008)
Family members are uniquely situated to influence the decision-making of their kin in nearly every facet of life. We examine the importance of social interactions in fertility outcomes by assessing family members’ scope of influence on their fellow kin’s fertility behavior. With the unique KASS genealogical dataset from eight countries in Europe, we study the effects of family members’ fertility outcomes on individual fertility to assess the presence and the extent of inter-generational transmission of fertility behaviors and siblings’ influences on fertility outcomes. We find only limited evidence of the inter-generational transmission of fertility behaviors, but a relatively important effect of siblings for individual fertility. Rather than parents, siblings’ influences appear to constitute the largest share of familial influences on fertility outcomes. We also find that among siblings, women’s fertility is more subject to the influences of their sisters. These findings indicate the relative importance of close kin influences on individual fertility and demonstrate the consequences of family structure for fertility change.
Keywords: Europe, family demography, family size, fertility, kinship, sisters