Over the last sixty years, descriptive and causal approaches have analyzed fertility trends from many viewpoints and have identified several factors and processes involved, with a varying ability to provide more in-depth or broader understanding of the issues. After the challenge to the universal Demographic Transition Theory, the search for common theoretical frameworks, whenever and wherever effective, has led to more specific studies, often performed on the field and often using qualitative methods. Instead of looking for uniformity and regularity in the phenomena, they try to find and to analyze the various factors that affect contextual variability, all other conditions being equal. Thus, the attention initially devoted to fertility determinants has shifted from biological and demographical antecedents and from modernization narratives (par. 2) to empirical models designed to explain fertility through economic evaluations (par. 3) or psychological traits (par. 4), to sociological analysis focused on ideational changes and institutional characteristics (par. 5 and 6), up to the more recent gender approaches based on the cultural factor (par. 7). Despite unavoidable overlaps and cross-contamination between the various approaches, this review tries to adopt a disciplinary framework to present some of the main contemporary theoretical works on fertility changes, clustering them both by the factors and by the mechanisms placed at the center of the approaches.

Contemporary studies about fertility changes: common trends or contextual variations?

SANTANGELO, Nicoletta
2011-01-01

Abstract

Over the last sixty years, descriptive and causal approaches have analyzed fertility trends from many viewpoints and have identified several factors and processes involved, with a varying ability to provide more in-depth or broader understanding of the issues. After the challenge to the universal Demographic Transition Theory, the search for common theoretical frameworks, whenever and wherever effective, has led to more specific studies, often performed on the field and often using qualitative methods. Instead of looking for uniformity and regularity in the phenomena, they try to find and to analyze the various factors that affect contextual variability, all other conditions being equal. Thus, the attention initially devoted to fertility determinants has shifted from biological and demographical antecedents and from modernization narratives (par. 2) to empirical models designed to explain fertility through economic evaluations (par. 3) or psychological traits (par. 4), to sociological analysis focused on ideational changes and institutional characteristics (par. 5 and 6), up to the more recent gender approaches based on the cultural factor (par. 7). Despite unavoidable overlaps and cross-contamination between the various approaches, this review tries to adopt a disciplinary framework to present some of the main contemporary theoretical works on fertility changes, clustering them both by the factors and by the mechanisms placed at the center of the approaches.
fertility trends; fertility decisions; demographic transition; childbearing; causal explanations
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/387673
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