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This paper describes recent fertility trends in European and/or Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD] countries and surveys the effects of family-friendly policies on fertility. Although these policies do seem to have an impact on fertility, their magnitude is limited. Financial benefits, whether conditional on employment status or not, have an undeniable impact on the timing of births, but their impact on the cohort overall fertility is less certain. Conversely, policies that facilitate the work-family balance seem to have a strong influence on the decision to have children or not. However, they do not always help reduce differences in behaviour between social classes. The impact of family-friendly policies is probably underestimated because of the difficulty of assessing their coherence and long-term effects. Moreover, policies do not always have proven effect because their impact is often temporary in the absence of a complete set of support that accompany families all along the childhood. The effectiveness of policies also depends on their permanency and the stability of economic environment. Stable policies can mitigate the impact of economic recession on fertility as well.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-216
JournalCommunity, Work & Family
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2011

ID: 242861