Policy support and impact on third births in post-socialist Hungary

Abstract: Since the early 1990s fertility fall steeply in Central-East European countries including Hungary where substantial governmental efforts sought to stop or at least reduce the decline. Specific policy measures have benefited parents with three or more children: i) the flat-rate child-raising support paid from the 3rd until the 8th birthday of the youngest child in large families (signalling recognition of ‘motherhood as profession’) and ii) a comprehensive tax-relief system. The success of these measures, if any, is however difficult to detect in aggregate statistics. Here we rely on event-history methods analyzing data from the Hungarian Generation and Gender Survey to examine the effect of these policies and to reveal differences in higher-order childbearing behaviour among socio-economic groups related to the measures in question. The results indicate a significant and differentiated effect on third-birth risks. While the child-raising support increased third-birth risks among the least educated, the generous tax relief seems to have similar effect on parents with tertiary education.