Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 305–325 | Cite as

Economic and Institutional Context and Second Births in Seven European Countries

  • Jonas Wood
  • Karel Neels
  • Jorik Vergauwen


The extent to which mothers progress to a second child varies greatly between European countries. Although both institutional and economic context are believed to be partly responsible for these differences, available research on economic conditions and fertility mostly focuses on first births and studies on family policy and fertility have hitherto insufficiently addressed population heterogeneity. Combining longitudinal microdata from the Harmonized Histories with contextual data on labour market uncertainty and family policy, this paper uses discrete-time hazard models to analyse the impact of economic and institutional context on second birth hazards of 22,298 women in 7 European countries between 1970 and 2002. Particular attention is paid to variation in the contextual effects by level of education. We find that aggregate-level unemployment and temporary employment reduce second birth hazards, particularly for low- and medium-level educated women. Family policies are positively related to second birth hazards. Whereas family allowances stimulate second births particularly among low educated mothers, the positive effect of childcare is invariant by level of education.


Family formation Second birth Family policy Unemployment Labour market Europe 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Longitudinal and Life-Course StudiesUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium

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