Employment Uncertainty and Fertility Intentions: Stability or Resilience?

Number: 134
Year: 2019
Author(s): Arianna Gatta, Francesco Mattioli, Letizia Mencarini, Daniele Vignoli
OBJECTIVE: In this study we test whether perceived stability of employment and perceived resilience to potential job loss affect fertility intentions, net of individual level risk attitudes and considering variation in the local macroeconomic conditions. BACKGROUND: The role of employment uncertainty as a fertility driver has been explored in a number of studies with a limited set of constructs, and with inconclusive results. A key reason for this heterogeneous pattern is that scholars did not recognize the multidimensionality and the prospective nature of employment uncertainty. We address these oversights by considering two key dimensions of employment uncertainty: perceived stability of employment and perceived resilience to potential job loss. METHOD: Our study is conducted using the newly-released 2017 OECD Italian Trustlab survey and its built-in module on self-assessed employment uncertainty (N=521). We perform multivariate analysis using ordered logistic regression. RESULTS: Perception of employment resilience was a powerful predictor of fertility intentions, whereas perception of employment stability had only a limited impact. The observed relationship between resilience and fertility intentions was robust to the inclusion of person-specific risk attitude and it did not depend on aggregate-level variables, such as unemployment and fixed-term contract rates in the area of residence. CONCLUSION: With this paper, we argue that the notion of resilience is crucial for making sense of economic prospects in connection to fertility planning.

Arianna Gatta, European University Institute

Francesco Mattioli, Bocconi University

Letizia Mencarini, Bocconi University

Daniele Vignoli, University of Florence

Language: English

The paper may be downloaded here.

Keywords: Employment Uncertainty; Fertility Intentions; Resilience; Stability; Italy; Trustlab survey