A Comparative Analysis of Childbearing Norms across Europe

Alice Goisis, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

This paper is a first attempt to analyze the phenomenon of low and late fertility from a life course perspective and to explain how the perception of upper age limits to childbearing and attitudes towards childlessness are related to different factors and social processes. Moreover, we aim at significantly contributing to the existing literature on social norms and childbearing by adopting a comparative perspective, namely using the third round of the European Social Survey (ESS). The paper integrates the micro and the macro perspective in a way to analyze the perception of childbearing norms both at the individual and country level by running a series of multilevel models. Individual life styles and values play a major role in explaining differences in upper age limits to childbearing, while a much larger portion of variation in attitudes towards childlessness is attributed to country-level differences.

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Presented in Session 178: New Perspectives on Low Fertility and Policy