Publication


Klesment, M.
Fertility development in Estonia during the second half of the XX century: the economic context and its implications
Estonian Institute for Population Studies, Tallinn University, 2010,
URL, JabRef BibTex, Abstract
Economic growth affects issues recurrently addressed in scholarly as well as public debate. Steady economic growth is generally regarded as a desirable feature of a country’s development, especially in the light of the recent economic crisis that escalated to a global scale. Popular belief seems to favour the notion that higher per capita incomes and rising living standards are the foundation upon which the other domains of society, including demographic developments, rest. Such a view conforms with daily life experience in which economic conditions in their various manifestations (income, availability of jobs, housing etc.) are perceived as factors that facilitate or constrain the choices of individuals.The role of economic factors has also attracted considerable interest in demographic research. The relationship between economic conditions and demographic outcomes has been studied from a variety of theoretical perspectives, drawing on both macro- and micro-level data and applying a broad range of analytical methods. The findings from such studies reveal the salience of economic underpinnings but also point to a noticeable variation in specific relationships between economic and demographic phenomena in different societal contexts and over time. This study aims to complement that research by addressing the implications of the economic context for fertility developments in Estonia since the end of the Second World War. It is assumed that the successive and profound transformations in the country’s economic system over that period offer favourable ground for analysing the relationship. The study focused on the dynamics of the Gross Domestic Product at the macro-level and on differentials in economic well-being across subgroups of the population at the micro-level as plausible correlates with childbearing trends. An analysis of educational differentials in childbearing was included in the study in order to cast further light on the role of economic factors in family formation decisions. The results of the study indicate that the economic context, especially an abrupt change in the level of well-being, is likely to play a role in fertility development, but its importance should not be overestimated. In a comparative perspective, similar macro-economic developments have not produced identical fertility trends, which suggests that the phase of population development and demographic path dependency may be more important than short-term economic influences. The wealth of a society and its members is one element in a complex array of factors that influence demographic behaviour. It therefore seems unlikely that a universal cure for low fertility will be found among economic variables. Measures and policies that are targeted towards increasing fertility must be considered in a broader framework.

Reference


@book{Klesment2010b,
  author = {Klesment, M.},
  title = {Fertility development in Estonia during the second half of the XX century: the economic context and its implications},
  year = {2010},
  publisher = {Estonian Institute for Population Studies, Tallinn University},
  pages = {447},
  url = {http://e-ait.tlulib.ee/46/1/klesment_martin1.pdf},
  timestamp = {28.02.2013},
  owner = {Saase},
  abstract = {Economic growth affects issues recurrently addressed in scholarly as well as public debate. Steady economic growth is generally regarded as a desirable feature of a country’s development, especially in the light of the recent economic crisis that escalated to a global scale. Popular belief seems to favour the notion that higher per capita incomes and rising living standards are the foundation upon which the other domains of society, including demographic developments, rest. Such a view conforms with daily life experience in which economic conditions in their various manifestations (income, availability of jobs, housing etc.) are perceived as factors that facilitate or constrain the choices of individuals.The role of economic factors has also attracted considerable interest in demographic research. The relationship between economic conditions and demographic outcomes has been studied from a variety of theoretical perspectives, drawing on both macro- and micro-level data and applying a broad range of analytical methods. The findings from such studies reveal the salience of economic underpinnings but also point to a noticeable variation in specific relationships between economic and demographic phenomena in different societal contexts and over time. This study aims to complement that research by addressing the implications of the economic context for fertility developments in Estonia since the end of the Second World War. It is assumed that the successive and profound transformations in the country’s economic system over that period offer favourable ground for analysing the relationship. The study focused on the dynamics of the Gross Domestic Product at the macro-level and on differentials in economic well-being across subgroups of the population at the micro-level as plausible correlates with childbearing trends. An analysis of educational differentials in childbearing was included in the study in order to cast further light on the role of economic factors in family formation decisions. The results of the study indicate that the economic context, especially an abrupt change in the level of well-being, is likely to play a role in fertility development, but its importance should not be overestimated. In a comparative perspective, similar macro-economic developments have not produced identical fertility trends, which suggests that the phase of population development and demographic path dependency may be more important than short-term economic influences. The wealth of a society and its members is one element in a complex array of factors that influence demographic behaviour. It therefore seems unlikely that a universal cure for low fertility will be found among economic variables. Measures and policies that are targeted towards increasing fertility must be considered in a broader framework.}
}

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