English title: Preference Theory and Low Fertility: A Comparative Perspective

Author(s): Agnese Vitali - Francesco Billari - Alexia Prskawetz - Maria Testa -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2009


The discussion on the causes of the most recent fertility decline in Europe, and in particular on the emergence of lowest-low fertility, emphasizes the relevance of cultural factors in addition to economic ones. As part of such a cultural framework, the heterogeneity of preferences concerning the “career vs. family” dichotomy has been systematized in the “Preference Theory” approach developed by Catherine Hakim. This heterogeneity in preferences, however, has so far been underinvestigated in a comparative framework. This paper makes use of comparative data from the 2004/2005 Round of the European Social Survey to test the links between individual-level preferences and both fertility outcomes and fertility intentions, in a variety of societal settings. Results confirm an association between work–family lifestyle preferences and realized fertility in a variety of European countries, while they do not show a relationship between lifestyle preferences and fertility intentions. Results further support the existence of heterogeneous patterns of association between lifestyle preferences and fertility choices among welfare regimes.

Volume: 25

Issue: 4

From page no: 413

To page no: 438

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1007/S10680-009-9178-X

Journal: European Journal of Population

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