Gender role-set, family orientations, and fertility intentions in Switzerland

Valerie-Anne Ryser, Université de Lausanne
Jean-Marie Le Goff, Université de Lausanne
Laura Bernardi, Université de Lausanne

The decrease of fertility and the increase of the age at birth in Switzerland may be interpreted as a reaction to important social changes that have occurred over the last decades. In particular the increasing share of women active in the labor force made the traditional organization of paid labor and school hours inadequate, it highlights the lack of social investment in public care for children. Similarly the unequal gender division of domestic tasks which characterize the majority of couples with young children becomes heavier to bear for working women. This paper investigates the role of attitudes towards paid work and family as well as of the couple role-sets (division of paid and domestic workloads between man and woman) on an important predictor of fertility behavior, that is the intention to have a child. We use a subsample (men and women in union and of all parities) of the yearly data of the Swiss Household Panel from 2002 to 2007. Information on family and work values, fertility intentions, and gender division of tasks is available for both man and woman. Our multilevel estimations show that satisfaction with the couple role-set favors fertility intentions for women who are already mothers, but aspirations to economic independence and employment have a depressive and independent effect on fertility intentions for childless women.

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Presented in Session 54: Gender equity and fertility