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Socioeconomic differences in the fertility transition: a micro level study of southern Sweden

Publiceringsår: 2009
Språk: Engelska
Dokumenttyp: Konferensbidrag


The almost complete focus on the aggregate level in previous research on demographic,

socioeconomic and cultural determinants of the fertility transition means that we to a

large extent not only lack knowledge about the specific mechanisms of the decline, but

also its socioeconomic patterns. In this paper we explore socioeconomic fertility

differentials in an industrializing community of southern Sweden using longitudinal

micro data. We analyze fertility differentials between various socioeconomic groups

over time, both in the agrarian sector and in the growing industrial sector. Data comes

from the Scanian Demographic Database, which contains micro-level demographic as

well as socioeconomic data, including occupations and landholdings. In the analysis we

use hazard regressions with shared unobserved heterogeneity at the family level. We

show that the fertility transition involved not only parity-specific stopping but also

prolonged birth intervals. While the well-off groups had higher fertility prior to the

transition, they started to control their fertility earlier and more consistently. As a result

the socioeconomic fertility differences first reversed and even widened before they later

converged. We also demonstrate the emergence of new fertility behavior in response to

child death, in which a deliberate replacement effect becomes dominating. Also in this

regard there were pronounced socioeconomic differentials in the transition.


  • Economic History


XXV International Population Conference

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