Child-Care Availability and Fertility in Norway

Authors

  • Ronald R. Rindfuss,

    1. Research Professor, Department of Sociology, and Fellow, Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Senior Fellow, Research Program, East-West Center, Honolulu
    Search for more papers by this author
  • David K. Guilkey,

    1. Cary Boshamer Distinguished Professor of Economics and Fellow, Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Search for more papers by this author
  • S. Philip Morgan,

    1. Faculty Director of the Social Science Research Institute, Professor of Sociology, and Norb F. Schaefer Professor of International Studies, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
    Search for more papers by this author
  • ØYstein Kravdal

    1. Professor of Demography, Department of Economics, University of Oslo.
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

The child-care and fertility hypothesis has been in the literature for a long time and is straightforward: As child care becomes more available, affordable, and acceptable, the antinatalist effects of increased female educational attainment and work opportunities decrease. As an increasing number of countries express concern about low fertility, the child-care and fertility hypothesis takes on increased importance. Yet data and statistical limitations have heretofore limited empirical tests of the hypothesis. Using rich longitudinal data and appropriate statistical methodology, We show that increased availability of child care increases completed fertility. Moreover, this positive effect of child-care availability is found at every parity transition. We discuss the generalizability of these results to other settings and their broader importance for understanding variation and trends in low fertility.

Ancillary