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Keywords:

  • C25;
  • J13
  • childbearing;
  • economic insecurity;
  • employment instability;
  • fertility;
  • income;
  • Italy;
  • precarious employment;
  • wealth

We aim to provide an explanation for the combination of the relatively low female participation rates and lowest-low fertility levels in Italy. Starting from the assumption that childbearing decisions also depend on uncertainty about future employment, income, and wealth, we empirically assess how fertility intentions are affected by job instability, which may severely compromise the employment stability of workers, and economic disadvantages in terms of household income and wealth, which may imply insufficient means to deal with potential adverse future events, thereby generating in the household feelings of anxiety and economic insecurity. We show that the instability of women's work status (i.e., the holding of occasional and precarious jobs) significantly discourages the decision to attempt having a first child. Low levels of household wealth significantly and positively influence the decision to postpone attempting a first child. The chances of further childbirth are significantly and negatively influenced by household income insecurity.