MPIDR Working Paper

Socioeconomic differences in the unemployment and fertility nexus: a comparison of Denmark and Germany

Kreyenfeld, M. R., Andersson, G.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2013-008, 42 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (June 2013)
Open Access


Studies that have investigated the role of unemployment in childbearing decisions have often provided conflicting results. We argue that many of the inconsistencies of prior research may be attributed to a neglect of group-specific differences in behavior. In this study, we examine how the effects of unemployment on fertility vary by socio-demographic subgroups using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) and from Danish population registers. We find that male unemployment leads to a postponement of first and second childbearing in both countries. The role of female unemployment is less clear at these parities. Both male and female unemployment is positively correlated with third birth risks. More importantly, our results show that there are strong educational gradients in the unemployment and fertility nexus, and that the relationship between unemployment and fertility varies by socioeconomic group. Fertility tends to be lower during periods of unemployment among highly educated women and men, but not among their less educated counterparts.
Keywords: Germany, 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.