Despite the many differences that exist between Italy, Bulgaria, and Germany, the three countries are among those with the lowest fertility rates in Europe. However, they differ in the level of public support for families and the role of informal supportive networks in daily life. Italy and Bulgaria, on the one hand, share very low levels of public support. In both countries, consequently, informal supportive networks based on family relationships and kinship have a strong tradition and a high relevance for getting things done. In Germany, however, support by family policy is much stronger and the importance of such supportive networks is weaker. The paper addresses the question whether these different constellations of public and informal social support have an impact on reproductive decision-making. In particular, it concentrates on the impact of supportive networks on intentions to have a second child. Analyses based on data from the “Generations and Gender Programme”, a comparative survey that was conducted recently in all three countries, provide mixed results. While there is a significant influence of access to informal support on the intention to have a second child in Bulgaria and no significant effect in West Germany, findings for Italy obviously contradict theoretical propositions and suggest that future analysis takes more comprehensive account of the work strategy of the mothers in the context of the current Italian labour market characteristics.
Buber, Isabella and Panova, Ralina and Dorbritz, Jurgen
This study investigates the importance of the effect of an individual's web of informal relationships with family and peers on the intention to have a second or third child. Drawing on sociological theories of social capital (help with childcare, emotional support) and social pressure, the study extends existing research by evaluating cross-national differences (between France, Germany, and Bulgaria) in the impact of personal network and institutional circumstances. It tests a non-linear relationship between social capital and fertility intentions. Social pressure and social capital are highly institutionally filtered, with the impact of personal network stronger where institutions are less family-supportive.
We use the theory of planned behavior to investigate the role of attitudes, norms and perceived behavioural control on short-term and long-term fertility intentions, using data from Norway (N = 1,307). There is some evidence that, net of other background variables, positive scores on these factors makes it easier to establish concrete childbearing plans, especially among parents. Subjective norms are particularly important among both parents and childless adults, while perceptions of behavioural control have no additional effect once the actual life situation is taken into account. Attitudes are not important in decisions about the timing of becoming a parent, probably because the main issue for childless adults is not the timing, but the decision to have a child or not.
France and Italy lie at the two extremes as regards fertility levels in Europe. Although previous findings showed that desired fertility is very similar in France and Italy, an examination of intentions to have a child in the following three years points to a country-specific difference. Namely, in France reproductive intentions are higher than in Italy for all parities. Moreover, since the actual fertility levels are so different, there could be some sorts of constraints that limit fertility more strongly in Italy than in France. Taking advantage of the first two rounds of the French and Italian Gender and Generation Surveys, in this paper we aim at highlighting the profiles of those couples who do not realize their intended fertility projects in the two countries considered. This line of reasoning may provide important input to policy makers wishing to lift the constraints to fertility realization.
Who does not desire two children? A France-Italy comparison - In the industrialized word, France and Italy placed at the extremes as far as fertility behaviour is concerned. Besides these differences, in this work we also wonder whether (or not) fertility desires are different between the two countries. In particular, we aim at scrutinizing the factors influencing the choice of the fertility pattern in France and Italy, paying special attention to the "single child model" and "large family model". Our findings highlight that the desired number of children in France is only slightly higher than in Italy. Moreover, also women who do not desire a two-child family are very similar in the two countries.