Are individuals' desired family sizes stable? Evidence from West German panel data

Heiland, F., Prskawetz, A., & Sanderson, W.C. (2008). Are individuals' desired family sizes stable? Evidence from West German panel data. European Journal of Population 24 (2) 129-156. 10.1007/s10680-008-9162-x.

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Using West German panel data constructed from the 1988 and 1994/1995 wave of the DJI Familiensurvey, we analyze the stability and determinants of individuals total desired fertility. We find considerable variation of total desired fertility across respondents and across interviews. In particular, up to 50% of individuals report a different total desired fertility across survey waves. Multivariate analysis confirms the importance of background factors including growing up with both parents, having more siblings, and being Catholic for preference formation. Consistent with the idea that life course experiences provide new information regarding the expected costs and benefits of different family sizes, the influence of background factors on total desired fertility is strong early in life and weakens as subsequent life course experiences, including childbearing, take effect. Accounting for unobserved individual heterogeneity, we estimate that an additional child may increase the total desired fertility of women with children by 0.14 children, less than what conventional estimates from cross-sectional data would have suggested.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fertility preferences; Total desired fertility; Wanted family size; West Germany; Panel data
Research Programs: World Population (POP)
Bibliographic Reference: European Journal of Population; 24(2):129-156 (June 2008)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:41
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:38

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