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Household fertility responses following communism: Transition in the Czech Republic and Slovakia


In central Europe fertility fell during transition from centrally planned to market oriented economies. Families reevaluated fertility plans facing new wages, reduced child-care subsidies, and economic uncertainty. Using micro-data from 1984 and 1993 in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, this paper relates fertility changes following Communism to wages, prices␣and risks. Earnings have little impact on fertility timing during transition, though age, job uncertainty, and children conceived during Communism do. In the Czech Republic, changed fertility demand parameters account for much of the␣fall in fertility. In Slovakia a sizable proportion results from predictable responses to changed incentives.

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Correspondence to Robert S. Chase.

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I would like to thank my Czech collaborators Pavel Mahonın, Petr Mateju, and Jiri Vecernık for enabling this empirical work to proceed; T. Paul Schultz, and Jenny Hunt and seminar participants at Yale University, the NEUDC, and the Population Association of America annual meetings and two anonymous referees for helpful comments. I am also indebted to the Mellon Foundation Area Studies Grant program for financial support allowing field work on this topic. I am wholly responsible for all errors. Responsible editor: T. Paul Schultz.

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Chase, R. Household fertility responses following communism: Transition in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. J Popul Econ 16, 579–595 (2003).

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Key Words

  • Transition
  • fertility
  • household behavior

JEL classification

  • J13
  • P36