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The Child of Last Chance: the Role of Biological Clock in Fertility Timing in France and Germany

24th November 2009 3pm, University of Southampton, 58/1009

Anne Solaz, Institut National Etudes Demographiques (INED)

Fertility behaviours vary widely within Europe. France and Germany represent two tendencies concerning childbearing: in France a high fertility level although a postponement of first conception, with a two-children ideal family size; in Germany a very low fertility level linked to a polarization of fertility behaviours (zero or two children). The delay of fertility timing may constrain the childbearing strategies since unfecundability sharply increases with female age. The idea is, within a Cox model for transition to late childbearing, to control for the natural increase in sterility with age estimated with eighteenth century census data, and to look at the remaining effects of other determinants. In France, women in second unions accelerate childbearing in order to have children before they become sterile. Do we observe the same phenomenon for all the people who form a first union late? Do people accelerate their childbearing as soon as they reach later ages? We expect country specific impact of sterility given their different first birth timing and social norms.