Economic uncertainty and fertility outcomes in Greece: the “structural”-“distributional” effect of education level and employment status on male and female fertility levels

Christos Bagavos, Panteion University
Alexandra Tragaki, Harokopio University of Athens

We use a combination of population and survey data sources to investigate fertility differentials by educational level and employment status (employed vs. non-employed) for men and women over the period 2000-2011 in Greece. We also estimate the effect of education-specific and employment-specific distributions on male and female fertility rates, by emphasizing on the impact of the economic downturn (2008-2011). Our findings indicate that employment status tend to modify fertility patterns by educational levels, in particular for women. Although fertility decreases as the level of education increases, the picture changes when employment parameter is inserted. The total fertility rate of the employed and high-educated women does not differ from that of the employed women with medium education level whereas in addition it is significantly higher than that of the employed and low-educated women. On the whole, by the end of the 2000’s fertility level of the employed women is higher than that of the non-employed and employed men continue having significantly higher fertility rates than the non-employed. Fertility behaviour per se is rather sufficient to explain trends in the total fertility rates over the period 2000-2011. Nevertheless, during the years of economic recession (2008-2011), male fertility declines exclusively due to the changes in employment-specific distribution, namely the decrease in employment rates. As for women, the impact of the changes in the education-specific and the employment-specific distributions are rather significant, but those impacts move towards opposite directions and they are mutually off-set. The employment-specific distribution affects differently the overall male and female fertility. This is susceptible to indicate that, the effect of economic uncertainty and of restricted employment opportunities on fertility levels might be different between sexes, even if fertility behavior remains unchanged.

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Presented in Session 106: The great recession and fertility