The generalized and relatively homogeneous fertility decline across European countries in the aftermath of the Great Recession poses serious challenges to our knowledge of contemporary low fertility patterns. In this paper, we argue that fertility decisions are not a mere “statistical shadow of the past”, and advance the Narrative Framework, a new approach to the relationship between economic uncertainty and fertility. This framework proffers that individuals act according to or despite uncertainty based on their “narrative of the future” – imagined futures embedded in social elements and their interactions. We also posit that personal narratives of the future are shaped by the “shared narratives” produced by socialization agents, including parents and peers, as well as by the narratives produced by the media and other powerful opinion formers. Finally, within this framework, we propose several empirical strategies, from both a qualitative and a quantitative perspective, including an experimental approach, for assessing the role of narratives of the future in fertility decisions.

A Reflection on Economic Uncertainty and Fertility in Europe: The Narrative Framework

Minello, Alessandra
2020

Abstract

The generalized and relatively homogeneous fertility decline across European countries in the aftermath of the Great Recession poses serious challenges to our knowledge of contemporary low fertility patterns. In this paper, we argue that fertility decisions are not a mere “statistical shadow of the past”, and advance the Narrative Framework, a new approach to the relationship between economic uncertainty and fertility. This framework proffers that individuals act according to or despite uncertainty based on their “narrative of the future” – imagined futures embedded in social elements and their interactions. We also posit that personal narratives of the future are shaped by the “shared narratives” produced by socialization agents, including parents and peers, as well as by the narratives produced by the media and other powerful opinion formers. Finally, within this framework, we propose several empirical strategies, from both a qualitative and a quantitative perspective, including an experimental approach, for assessing the role of narratives of the future in fertility decisions.
2020
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3414434
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