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Does broadband Internet affect fertility?

Francesco C. Billari, Giovanni Giuntella () and Luca Stella

Population Studies, 2019, vol. 73, issue 3, 297-316

Abstract: The spread of high-speed (broadband) Internet epitomizes the digital revolution. Using German panel data, we test whether the availability of broadband influences fertility choices in a low-fertility setting well known for the difficulty in combining work and family life. We exploit a strategy devised by Falck and colleagues to obtain causal estimates of the impact of broadband on fertility. We find positive effects of broadband availability on the fertility of highly educated women aged 25–45. We further confirm this result using county-level data on total fertility. We show that broadband access significantly increases the share of women reporting home- or part-time working. Furthermore, we find positive effects on time spent with children and overall life satisfaction. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that access to broadband allows highly educated women, but not the less educated, to reconcile career and motherhood, which may promote a ‘digital divide’ in fertility.

Date: 2019
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Related works:
Working Paper: Does Broadband Internet Affect Fertility? (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: Does Broadband Internet Affect Fertility? (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: Does Broadband Internet Affect Fertility? (2017) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1080/00324728.2019.1584327

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Population Studies is currently edited by John Simons, Francesco Billari, James J. Brown, John Cleland, Andrew Foster, John McDonald, Tom Moultrie, Mikko Myrsklä, Alice Reid, Wendy Sigle-Rushton, Ronald Skeldon and Frans Willekens

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