Motherhood Postponement: Explaining Differences across Europe

Maria-Letizia Tanturri, University of Pavia
Cheti Nicoletti, University of Essex

In this paper, we aim to assess some of the potential determinants of first childbirth timing in Europe, in a comparative perspective, using micro-data from the European Community Household Panel Survey. We follow the demographic approach to decompose the differences between rates, in the part due to the national population composition by specific characteristics, and in the part due to different propensities for women with given characteristics. Specifically, we show what the probability of entering into motherhood would be for Italian women if they had the same human capital, the same level of labor participation, the same timing in terms of education and first job start as women living in another European country. On the basis of our results, we discuss the possible effect on comparative fertility of policies favoring changes in the work and educational characteristics of Italian women to allow them to be more like women in other European countries.

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Presented in Session 138: Timing of Childbearing: Economic and Cultural Contexts