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Fear of the future: exploring a novel determinant of fertility transitions

Mar 03

In this webinar, Nicoletta Balbo (Bocconi University) will present findings from a joint paper with Katya Ivanova (Tilburg University) examining the impact of a generalised ‘fear of the future’ on fertility behaviour among a contemporary cohort of adults.

Existing literature has suggested that contemporary adults highlight factors such as economic uncertainty, global warming and increasing inequality to explain their intentions to forego parenthood. Yet, the extent to which these fears impact actual fertility, remains unclear.

In this paper, the authors aim to examine the impact of a generalised ‘fear of the future’ on fertility behaviour, while uncovering which dimensions of such fear matter the most.  

Using the Dutch Longitudinal Internet studies for the Social Sciences (LISS) data, they engage in a series of discrete-time event history models with recurrent events estimating the probability of having a(nother) child. 

Results show that anxieties about the future are linked to lower probability of experiencing fertility transitions, and such fears seem to be mostly related to concerns about next generation’s future. Moreover, the researchers show that fear of the future is most strongly driven by work and financial considerations.

Event information
University College London