MPIDR Working Paper

First and second births in first and second unions: a decomposition of fertility decline in Bulgaria and Russia since the 1989 economic and political transition

Spielauer, M., Koytcheva, E., Kostova, D.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2007-001, 19 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (January 2007)
Open Access


Following the collapse of the communist regimes in Bulgaria and Russia, the two countries have experienced dramatic fertility decline. The aim of this paper is to examine the individual contribution of various factors that have contributed to the overall drop in first and second births. By means of microsimulation, we isolate the effect of changes observed in first and second birth risks in different life course situations as well as the impact of changes in union formation and dissolution on fertility. The study is based on hazard regression models estimated from GGS data. We find remarkable similarities in first and second birth behavior and changes in these behaviors over time in both countries. However, partnership behavior and trends differ considerably, causing a stronger fertility decline in Bulgaria due to delayed partnership formation. Nevertheless, in Russia unions are increasingly unstable, a process which, according to our findings, leads to longer birth intervals but has almost no impact on final birth outcome.
Keywords: Bulgaria, Russian Federation, fertility trends, microsimulation
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.