On Culture and Fertility: Postmaterialism, Educational Attainment and Cross-National Variation in Number of Children

Claudia Gras, Università Bocconi
Ross Macmillan, Università Bocconi

The idea of a second demographic transition emphasizes culture or ideation as contemporary determinants of fertility behavior. At the same time, there is relatively little work that directly measures “culture” and relates it to individual fertility behavior. There is even less work that does so in a comparative perspective that would capture meaningful variation in culture. This research speaks to these issues by examining the role of “post-materialist” culture on individual fertility behavior using data from the World Values Surveys and multilevel models. Results indicate that post-materialist culture has a strong curvilinear relationship where post-materialism is associated with less fertility at both the lower and upper ranges. Post-materialism also conditions the effect of education on fertility where the traditionally seen negative effects are muted in contexts of high post-materialism. While these analyses reveal important effects of culture on fertility, they are not entirely consistent with existing theory. Implications are discussed.

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Presented in Poster Session 6