A bifurcation analysis of gender equality and fertility
In general, the spreading of gender egalitarianism has often been associated with a decline in fertility. However, recently a rebound in fertility has been observed in several industrialized countries. A possible explanation of this trend may be the spread of egalitarian values that induced institutional changes - such as expansion of child care facilities and father leave - and also changes in norms and values - such as gender equity in the distribution of domestic work - that foster the combination of parenthood and the egalitarian lifestyle. To study the diffusion from traditional to egalitarian gender-behavior and its impact on fertility a two-dimensional system of nonlinear ordinary differential equations is used. It is shown that the long-run development of the total fertility within a population not only depends on key parameters such as the pace of diffusion of egalitarianism and the extent to which social interactions affect the egalitarians’ birth rates, but also on the initial number of traditionalists and egalitarians. One of the main purposes of the present paper is to illustrate how bifurcation theory can be used to study the process of increasing gender equality and its implications on fertility.
KeywordsBifurcation analysis History-dependence Gender egalitarianism Fertility Diffusion model Social interactions
JEL Classification (2010)J13 C61 J16 D63
We would like to thank Gosta Esping-Andersen, Tomas Sobotka and Carl Schmertmann for their valuable comments.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interests
The authors were supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) under Grants P20408-G14 (Gustav Feichtinger), P24125-N13 (Andrea Seidl) and P25275-G11 (Stefan Wrzaczek).
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