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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - ZEW-Centre for European Economic Research Discussion Paper
Title Cultural influences on the fertility behaviour of first-and second-generation immigrants in Germany
Issue 13-023
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
URL http://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/74530/1/745872476.pdf
Germany has a lower fertility rate than many other Western countries. The difference
in fertility rates is likely to be driven by both socio-economic and institutional factors
(e.g., access to childcare) as well as by cultural differences with respect to gender roles and
fertility norms. However, disentangling these influences empirically is not straightforward,
as both sets of variables likely influence each other.
To deal with this difficulty, the present article focuses on the group of immigrant women
and their descendants. It documents that growing up in countries that differ in their
fertility rate affects the women’s own number of children even if they spend their fertile
years under the common institutional setting in Germany. This so called “epidemiological
approach” allows relatively clean identification of the cultural influence on fertility. There
has been only one such study in the German context so far, which focuses exclusively on
first-generation immigrant women. Thanks to a much larger data set (the Mikrozensus
2008, a reprensentative 1% sample of the German population), the present article extends
the analysis to second-generation immigrants. The influence of fertility rates in the
countries of ancestry is still perceptible here, which is consistent with intergenerational
transmission of fertility norms. However, the influence is weaker than in the first generation
and still weaker if one parent is from Germany or if the parents are immigrants from
two different countries.

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