Social Capital and Pressure in Fertility Decision-Making: Second and Third Birth in France, Germany and Bulgaria

Nicoletta Balbo, University of Groningen

This paper investigates the importance of personal networks for men and women as determinants of intentions to have a second or third child. Using two sociological concepts, social capital and social pressure, we aim to examine the role of an individual’s web of informal relationships with a partner, relatives and peers on the decision to have another child. We adopt a cross-national approach (France, Germany and Bulgaria) to measure how the impact of networks depends upon institutional circumstances. We engage in logit models for men and women, using the GGS data, that provide us with information about expectations from kin and friends, and two fertility-relevant resources: (i) help with childcare, and (ii) emotional support. Results show that the impact of personal networks on second and third birth intentions is stronger in less family-supportive institutional contexts. Moreover, this study extends existing research by providing an innovative measurement of social capital.

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Presented in Session 1: Low Fertility in Comparative Perspective