The Impact of Labour-Force Participation on Childbearing Behaviour: Pro-Cyclical Fertility in Sweden during the 1980s and the 1990s

  • Gunnar Andersson


During the last two decades, Sweden has experienced strong fluctuations both in its economy and in its level of childbearing. A period of high employment and increasing fertility has been followed by a period of lower employment and decreasing fertility since the beginning of the 1990s. In this paper, we use register data for Swedish women in order to examine how various types of attachment to the labour market affect women's propensity to give birth at different parities. Specifically, we show what impact changes in women's employment status have had on recorded fertility trends in Sweden. We find that women who have relatively low levels of income and women who are enrolled as students generally have lower fertility than other women. We also find that a rise in the number of women with such characteristics can explain part of the decrease in fertility during the 1990s. It is evident, however, that other factors, working at the macro level, also have to be considered when one wants to explain the fluctuating fertility of Sweden. Social policy is one such factor. In sum, we find a pattern of pro-cyclical fertility, where levels of female earnings are positively related to levels of childbearing.

childbearing childbearing trends employment female income fertility Sweden 


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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gunnar Andersson
    • 1
  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for Demographic ResearchRostockGermany

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