A Spatial Analysis of Childbearing in Cohabitation

Arnstein Aassve, Università Bocconi
Agnese Vitali, Università Bocconi

The disconnection between marriage and childbearing represents one of the main recent change in the families, with the Nordic countries acting as the forerunners in this new trend. In this paper we study the diffusion of childbearing in cohabitation as opposed to marriage across Norwegian municipalities. We rely on spatial panel econometrics to investigate how childbearing in cohabitation spreads geographically in relation to three indicators: importance of religion, women’s empowerment and economic uncertainty. Our findings indicate that women empowerment is the most important predictor of childbearing in cohabitation. This means that the diffusion of childbearing in cohabitation mirrors the diffusion of women empowerment and is driven by it. The innovation of this paper is found in the access to unique data which offer detailed information on all municipalities within a country. Using new advanced modeling techniques this paper provides new and improved knowledge about the diffusion of childbearing in cohabitation.

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Presented in Session 152: Fertility Change Over Space and Time in Developed Countries