Education and Permanent Childlessness: Austria vs. Sweden

Gerda Neyer, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Jan Hoem, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

In this paper we study the association between skill formation, field and level of educational attainment and permanent childlessness of Sweden and Austria in order to assess the impact of institutional factors on fertility behavior. Sweden and Austria offer particularly well suited cases to study this association since both have strongly coordinated market economies but different welfare-state setups. We find largely the same pattern of childlessness by educational field in both countries. In particular at each educational level women educated for teaching or for health occupations have lower childlessness than other lines of education. However, there is a pronounced difference in childlessness by educational level in Austria, with women with higher education having much higher childlessness than women with lower education. We do not find such a difference in Sweden. We attribute these differences to institutional differences in the two countries which bring about a different culture of reproductive behavior.

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Presented in Session 21: Fertility, Politics and Public Policy