Relative Affluence and Fertility: Reviewing the Easterlin’s Hypothesis via Subjective Survey Data from Eurobarometer

Tommaso Gennari, Future Foundation
Francesco Scalone, Lund University

The aim of the research is to examine the subjective economic self-evaluations of households as an explanation of fertility behaviours. Following the theoretical path traced by Easterlin on the so called relative income hypothesis, we assume that fertility results from the combination of aspirations and expected income, i.e. from what has been called the “relative affluence” of individuals and households. We use survey data from the 2007 Eurobarometer wave to indicate this dimension of subjective “relative affluence”. This measure shows a strong European country-level correlation with fertility levels; a comparison of the effect of this measure on TFR with the effect of traditional macro-level measures of socio-economic conditions (GDP, unemployment, etc.) is also carried out. A discussion on the possible theoretical and policy level consequences of this analysis, and the possibility of further analytical development, is finally carried out.

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Presented in Poster Session 2