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Second birth rates across Europe: interactions between women’s level of education and child care enrolment

Jan Van Bavel () and Joanna Rózanska-Putek

Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, 2010, vol. 8, issue 1, 107-138

Abstract: Fertility differences in Europe are to a large extent due to parity progression after the first child. We therefore use data from the third round of the European Social Survey to investigate second-birth rates in 23 countries. Focusing on the role of education level and child care availability, we argue that child care provision is an important determinant of the opportunity cost of parity progression, particularly for highly educated women. We find that in countries where the highly educated have lower second birth rates than the less educated, total fertility tends to be low, and vice versa. In addition, the effect of the timing of the first child appears to be mediated by education level and child care availability: in countries where large proportions of young children attend formal child care, the more highly educated exhibit much higher second-birth rates, while child care availability does not affect parity progression for the less educated.

Date: 2010
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