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Social policies, separation, and second birth spacing in Western Europe

Michaela Kreyenfeld, Esther Geisler, Teresa Castro Martín, Tina Hannemann, Valerie Heintz-Martin, Marika Jalovaara, Hill Kulu, Silvia Meggiolaro, Dimitri Mortelmans, Inge Pasteels, Marta Seiz and Anne Solaz ()
Additional contact information
Michaela Kreyenfeld: Hertie School of Governance
Esther Geisler: Hertie School of Governance
Teresa Castro Martín: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
Tina Hannemann: University of Manchester
Valerie Heintz-Martin: Deutsches Jugendinstitut (DJI)
Marika Jalovaara: Turun Yliopisto (University of Turku)
Hill Kulu: University of St Andrews
Silvia Meggiolaro: Università degli Studi di Padova (UNIPD)
Dimitri Mortelmans: Universiteit Antwerpen
Inge Pasteels: Hogeschool PXL
Marta Seiz: Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)

Demographic Research, 2017, vol. 37, issue 37, 1245-1274

Abstract: Objective: This paper studies postseparation fertility behavior. The aim is to investigate whether, and if so how, separation affects second birth spacing in Western European countries. Methods: This analysis makes use of rich survey data from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom, as well as from Finnish register data. We thus cover the behavior of a large proportion of the population of Western Europe. We also use descriptive measures, such as Kaplan‒Meier survival functions and cumulative incidence curves. In the multivariate analysis, we employ event history modeling to show how education relates to postseparation fertility behavior. Results: There are large differences in postseparation fertility behavior across European countries. For Spain and Italy, we find that only a negligibly small proportion of the population have a second child after separating from the other parent of the firstborn child. The countries with the highest proportion of second children with a new partner are the United Kingdom, Germany, and Finland. In all countries, separation after first birth leads to a sharp increase in the birth interval between first and second births. Contribution: Our study is a contribution to the demographic literature that aims at understanding birth spacing patterns in Western Europe. Furthermore, we draw attention to the role of postseparation policies in explaining country differences in fertility behavior in contemporary societies.

Keywords: fertility; stepfamily fertility; multipartnered fertility; event history (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J1 Z0 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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DOI: 10.4054/DemRes.2017.37.37

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