English title: Capabilities and Childbearing Intentions in Europe: The association between reconciliation policies, economic uncertainties and women’s fertility

Author(s): Susanne Fahlén -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2013


This article investigates the association between economic uncertainties, work-family reconciliation policies and women’s short-term childbearing intentions in 10 European countries. I introduce the capability approach to this issue and argue that short-term childbearing intentions are an indicator of women’s capabilities to start a family or to have additional children. Using data from the European Social Survey, the analysis reveals that the association between economic uncertainties and short-term childbearing intentions varies by the number of children already born, education and institutional contexts. In some countries, having a job have a positive impact on childless women’s short-term intentions, while in other countries, low educated childless women out of the labour market are those most likely to intend to have a child in the near future. Other aspects of economic uncertainties, namely perceived job and income insecurity, have a negative impact on short-term childbearing intentions, regardless of motherhood status. The analysis also shows that the combination of weaker institutional support for work-family reconciliation, perceived job and income insecurity and low educational skills are associated with lower childbearing intentions, and the pattern across the 10 countries is slightly stronger for childless women. This study underscores the importance of embedding individual decision processes in a broader societal context.

Volume: 15

Issue: 5

From page no: 639

To page no: 662

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1080/14616696.2013.798018

Journal: European Societies

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