The impact of family policies on fertility in industrialized countries: a review of the literature
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This paper examines the theoretical propositions and empirical evidence linking policies and fertility. More specifically, the analysis presented in this paper draws attention to the complex mechanisms that theoretically link policies and demographic outcomes: mechanisms that involve imperfect information and decisions that are rationally bound by very specific circumstances. As to the empirical evidence, studies provide mixed conclusions as to the effect of policies on fertility. While a small positive effect of policies on fertility is found in numerous studies, no statistically significant effect is found in others. Moreover, some studies suggest that the effect of policies tends to be on the timing of births rather than on completed fertility.