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The Postponement of Childbearing, Completed Fertility and Subjective Well-being Hans-Peter Kohler Axel Skytthe and Kaare Christensen University of Pennsylvania.

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Presentation on theme: "The Postponement of Childbearing, Completed Fertility and Subjective Well-being Hans-Peter Kohler Axel Skytthe and Kaare Christensen University of Pennsylvania."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Postponement of Childbearing, Completed Fertility and Subjective Well-being Hans-Peter Kohler Axel Skytthe and Kaare Christensen University of Pennsylvania University of Southern Denmark, Odense

2 Concerns about delayed childbearing Demographic effects Parity progression ratios Completed fertility Subjective well-being derived from children and parenting Interactions between motivation for parenting and age

3 Age at first birth and fertility What is the effect of a “late start” in parenthood on completed fertility? Postponement effect relative (absolute) decline in fertility resulting from a 1-year delay in 1 st birth

4 Relevance Age at first birth and completed fertility are the “cornerstones” that theories of fertility behavior need to capture Forecasting of cohort fertility: age at first birth is a potential early indicator of completed fertility Adjustment of the TFR: is there a “pure postponement” of fertility? Data: Monozygotic (identical) twins born in Denmark (register-based data)

5 Determinants of postponement effect Postponement effect is strong if Age-related child-costs are relevant Costs of children increase with human capital Delaying childbirth has small economic returns

6 Regress completed fertility on age at first birth Simple, but potential bias of coefficients Overestimated Selection with respect to fertility desires or fecundity Underestimated Selection with respect to abilities and “potential”, marriage market success, etc.

7 MZ twins from Danish Twin Registry Can control for characteristics of parental household genetic dispositions “ability” and returns to education, etc. Fixed effect regression (within MZ twin estimator)

8 Estimates of postonement effect Cohorts Logarithm of fertility measured at age 38 Postponement effect measures relative decline in completed fertility per additional year of delayed fertility

9 2 Effects Postponement effect has declined across cohorts Postponement effect increases at later desired fertility Compensating reduction in PE, particularly for women

10 Conclusions I Effect of age-at-first birth on subsequent and completed fertility is underestimated by standard analyses Change in postponement effect is underestimated; the effect is weakening over time, especially for males, but effect remains relevant Changing selectivity over time Dependence on desired onset of fertility for females Delayed childbearing reinforces postponement- fertility connection

11 Happiness & Fertility

12 Children and Well-being + p ≤.10; * ≤.05; ** p ≤.01; Effect of „Fertility“ on subjective well-being (0 = Not particularly / not statisfied; 1 = rather satisfied; 2 = Very satisfied) no change within age group , but children loose relevance in the age range years negative effect of step children for men no effect of separation/divorce from partner of first child persistent negative effect of early first births (age ≤ 21) for women different correlation von unobserved characteristics  ij with fertility behaviors Further Results

13 Well-being and postponement No effect of postponement on well-being in later adulthood across wide range of childbearing effects Strong negative effect of “young onset” of parenthood

14 Conclusions children and „Happiness“: dominant effect of first child negative effect (women) and no effect (men) of additional children no additional effect of children after controlling for current partnership for men (but effect exists for women) sex-preferences: first-born boys make men happier than first-born girls (no difference for women) negative effect of step children for men (women are indifferent) persistent negative effect of early first births for women Implications for fertility and family theories Implications for understanding low fertility in Europe

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