MPIDR Working Paper

Finding the "right moment" for the first baby to come: a comparison between Italy and Poland

Matysiak, A., Vignoli, D.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2009-011, 32 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (March 2009)
Open Access


This goal of this study is to add to our understanding of the impact of women’s human capital accumulation on the timing of first births. Applying intensity regression to national retrospective data, we examined the transition to motherhood in Italy and Poland. These countries share several similarities – Catholicism, strong family ties, and considerable tensions between fertility and work – but also differ in female labor supply developments. Our life-course study illustrates that paid employment clearly discourages childbearing in Italy, at least among low- and medium-educated women. In Poland, by contrast, employment functions as a precondition to childbearing, irrespective of a woman’s educational level.
Keywords: Italy, Poland, fertility
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.