The relationship between Civil Unions and fertility in France: Preliminary evidence
- 201 Downloads
This paper explores the relationship between fertility and the introduction of new laws regulating cohabitation, in a context of low fertility and high out of wedlock childbearing. We show that in France, while fertility and marriage rates moved closely together before 1999, since the introduction (in 1999) of the “Pacte Civil de Solidarité” (PACS)—a cohabitation contract less binding than marriage—this relationship is much weaker. Surprisingly, legal unions (defined as marriage plus PACS) and fertility continue to move together after this date. We provide evidence of the relationship between the introduction of PACS and fertility, utilizing the regional variation in the number of PACS per woman (PACS intensity) and the differences in fertility before and after 1999. We show that French Departments with high PACS intensity did not show a different trend in fertility before 1999 than those with low PACS intensity (excluding Metropolitan Paris). However, they did experience an increase in their fertility levels after the introduction of PACS. This suggests the need to collect better and more detailed data, in order to assess whether the recent increases in French fertility can be partially explained by the availability of PACS.
KeywordsMarriage Civil Unions Fertility
We are grateful for the comments from the editor and two anonymous referees. We acknowledge the advisory of Nancy Qian and the valuable comments of Andrew Foster, the participants at the Applied Microeconomics Lunch at Brown University, ITAM brown bag seminar, and participants at the 2009 LACEA meetings. Adrián Rubli and James Doyle provided excellent research and editorial assistance.
- Alesina, A., & Giuliano, P. (2007). Divorce, fertility and the value of marriage. Discussion Paper No. 2136. Harvard Institute of Economic Research.Google Scholar
- Becker, G. (1981). A treatise on the family (1st ed.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Borrillo, D., & Waaldijk, K. (2005). Major legal consequences of marriage, cohabitation and registered partnership for different-sex and same-sex partners in France. In K. Waaldijk (Ed.), More or less together: Levels of legal consequences of marriage, cohabitation and registered partnership for different-sex and same-sex partners. Documents de Travail, 125.Google Scholar
- Brown, E., & Dittgen, A. (2000). Fertility of married and unmarried couples in Europe. Paper presented at the flagship conference: Partnership and fertility-a revolution? PAU-UN/ECE, CBGS and UNFPA. Mimeo.Google Scholar
- Carrasco, V. (2007). Le pacte civil de solidarité: une forme d’union qui se banalise. Infostat Justice. http://www.justice.gouv.fr/art_pix/1_infostat97.pdf. Accessed 10 November 2009.
- Digoix, M., Festy, P., & Garnier, B. (2004). What if same-sex couples exist in France after all? Mimeo.Google Scholar
- Drewianka, S. (2006). Divorce laws and family formation. Journal of Population Economics, forthcoming.Google Scholar
- Grossbard-Shechtman, S. (1993). On the economics of marriage: A theory of marriage, labor and divorce. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
- Neyer, G. (2003). Family policies and low fertility in Western Europe. MPIDR Working paper WP 2003-021.Google Scholar
- Prioux, F., & Andreyev, Z. (2003). Recent demographic developments in France. Population-E, 58(4/5), 525–544 & 546–558.Google Scholar
- Waaldijk, K. (Ed.) (2005). More or less together: Levels of legal consequences of marriage, cohabitation and registered partnership for different-sex and same-sex partners. Documents de Travail, 125, 1–192.Google Scholar