Which policies are effective in increasing the number of children people have in low-fertility countries?

Date

2024

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

University of Texas at Austin Population Research Center

Abstract

Description

Many countries in Europe, North America, Oceania and parts of Asia have experienced significant declines in fertility. Long-term low fertility can put a strain on a country’s workforce, pension systems, and old age care, among others. Policymakers in many of these countries have implemented policies to make it easier for people to have and care for children. This brief, from PRC external faculty affiliate Wookun Kim and colleagues, reports on a recent review of dozens of experimental and quasi-experimental studies to evaluate whether policies affecting parental leave, childcare, direct financial incentives, and health insurance caused fertility to increase in low fertility countries. They show that policies that reduced the costs of childbearing were effective in increasing fertility, including policies that introduced, or generously prolonged, maternity leave; expanded public childcare; and implemented or expanded direct financial incentives. The authors argue that, to reduce workplace inequalities for women and inequalities in access to high quality childcare while also addressing policymakers’ goals of increasing fertility, policymakers should prioritize policies to promote lower-cost and higher-quality childcare for all of their inhabitants.

LCSH Subject Headings

Citation

Hart, R.K., Bergsvik, J., Fauske, A., & Kim, W. (2024). Which policies are effective in increasing the number of children people have in low-fertility countries? PRC Research Brief 9(3).