The ‘positive turn’? Women’s activity status and childbearing in Poland and Spain

Marcin Bągard, Warsaw School of Economics
Marta Ibáñez Pascual, University of Oviedo
Iga Sikorska, Warsaw School of Economics

The intention of the analysis is to verify few hypotheses on fertility, including the Hypothesis of Fertility Positive Turn, comparatively for Poland and Spain. We present how individual female economic activity and financial situation of a household shape fertility in these two countries, with respect to differences in demography, labour market structures, living conditions, gender norms, appreciated values and family policies. The aforementioned countries were chosen due to similarities in the level of economic development, long term lowest-low fertility level, presumed commitment to family values and some labour market structures and institutions. The verification was performed in two steps. First, we examined similarities and differences between Poland and Spain in fertility dynamics and its current contexts, with use of data provided by Eurostat, OECD, national ministries and calculated on available surveys (LFS, HBS and EU-SILC). We presented some interdependencies between selected indicators and fertility to be tested in further step. Step 2 was a duration analysis. Based on the 2004-2008 EU-SILC data for Poland and Spain, two groups of models were estimated: proportional hazards models for the transition to the first childbirth and recurrent event Cox models for the transition to first and second childbirth (to account for the differences with respect of the birth order). To control for more detailed job characteristics, additional models for employed women were produced. It seems the ‘positive turn’ hypothesis could be denied for Spain but there is not enough evidence to reject it for Poland. However, the results from a model are not conclusive for both countries, because the hypothesis was not rejected directly for cases with a steadier work status. We also found that educational level has a continuous effect for both countries, i.e. women with university degrees, and especially employed ones, are more likely to become parents.

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Presented in Poster Session 2