The effect of experiences with the first child on higher order parity

Petra Buhr, Universitat Bremen
Katharina Lutz, Universitat Bremen

One considerable difference between the decision for the first and for second or further children is the completely different previous experience. Whereas for childless couples, at most the experiences of others can play a role, parents can draw on their own experience of living with a child or children when considering having another. The situation of living with the first child should be of great importance for decisions on higher order parity: positive experiences will increase the likelihood, negative ones will decrease it. The aim of our paper is to investigate the factors influencing the decision to have a second child in more detail. Our analysis extends previous research in two ways: First, in contrast to studies which focus on the role of general life satisfaction after the birth of the first child for the decision to have a further child, we will more precisely capture the situation of living with the first child: We assume that the birth of the first child changes the couple relationship and the organisation of everyday life, for example the division of household labour, and investigate if these experiences affect the decision to have a second child. Second, while previous analysis with the German Family Panel focused on the effect of experiences with the first child on the intention to have another child, we investigate which factors can be identified as influencing actual transitions from one- to two-child families. To answer our research questions we use data from waves 1-6 of the German Family Panel (pairfam) and apply event history models.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session 6. Fertility preferences 1