Partisan fertility in the aftermath of the Great Recession
preprintposted on 08.09.2021, 15:29 by Chiara ComolliChiara Comolli, Gunnar AnderssonGunnar Andersson
The timing of fertility declines in developed societies during the last decade first prompted scholars to associate it with the Great Recession of 2008. However, the persistence of fertility declines during the 2010s suggests that other developments, maybe triggered by the crisis, have influenced fertility. Here, we investigate how the decline in generalized trust as reflected in growing support for right-wing populist parties may have affected childbearing trends. We focus on Sweden where the vote share of Sweden Democrats increased six-fold between 2006 and 2018 and fertility rates simultaneously declined by almost fifteen percent. We use population-register data to construct complete individual-level fertility histories and link women to the SD share of votes in their municipality of residence in the elections that were held in 2006, 2010, and 2014. We estimate fixed effects and difference-in-difference fertility models and demonstrate that changes in the support for Sweden Democrats in the local municipality influenced the average woman’s probability of having a child in a negative direction, net of observed and unobserved individual-level and municipality characteristics. The negative impact was strongest for highly educated women.