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Modena, F., Sabatini, F. (2011). I Would if I Could: Precarious Employment and Childbearing Intetions in Italy. Review of Economics of the Household 10 (1), 77-97

This paper carries out an investigation into the socio-economic determinants of childbearing decisions made by couples in Italy. The analysis accounts for the characteristics of both possible parents. Our results do not support established theoretical predictions according to which the increase in the opportunity cost of motherhood connected to higher female labour participation is responsible for the fall in fertility. On the contrary, the instability of women’s work status (i.e. having occasional, precarious, and low-paid positions) is revealed as a significant dissuasive factor in the decision to have children. Couples in which there is an unemployed woman are less likely to plan childbearing as well. Other relevant explanatory variables are women’s age, men’s work status and education, women’s citizenship, marital status and perceived economic well-being.


Modena, Francesca

Francesca Modena is Post-doc Research Fellow in Economics at the University of Trento. Her main research interests are Poverty and Development, Household Economics, Well-being and social capital.   Current position • Research Fellow, Department of Economics, University of Trento....

Sabatini, Fabio

I am Associate Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics and Law of Sapienza University of Rome, where I currently teach Economics and Policy of Networks, Applied Economics and Public Economics. I collaborate with the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research of the Higher School of...

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