Couples’ childlessness and parenthood as a result of male and female socioeconomic status: Bayesian analysis in case of selected European countries

Beata Osiewalska, Cracow University of Economics and Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

The association between couples' socioeconomic characteristics and fertility has been subject to changes over the past centuries. In historical societies and in small scale contemporary populations a positive connection was revealed, while in modern, highly developed countries the association seems to be conflicting and equivocal. Examining the procreative behavior among men and women has led to the clearly different results driven mainly by socioeconomic sex-specific association with childlessness. While the gender differences have been examining quite deeply, couples’ procreative behaviors treated as a result of conflict between male and female socioeconomic features still remains an understudied topic. Thus, the aim of this study is to investigate couples’ procreative behaviors among contemporary European populations with regard to socioeconomic features of each partner, and consequently to determine whose characteristics (male or female) has a stronger impact on fertility behavior in a couple. The Bayesian zero-inflated Poisson regression model was applied. The considered model in fertility analysis allows treating childlessness as a qualitatively different state than having children. Bayesian inference in this study enables us to make formal inference about uncertainty of covariates and nonlinear function of the model parameters and allows us to incorporate our prior knowledge. The preliminary results provided for Austria, Bulgaria and France confirmed that the couple’s family model is driven by gender specific socioeconomic features. The strength of that influence varies across countries, e.g. in France it occurred that male socioeconomic features determine the couple’s reproductive behavior much stronger than in other countries. It was also revealed that in Bulgaria being a housewife is not significant for the family model and it does not lead to higher average number of children as it is for other countries.

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Presented in Poster Session 2