Internet and the timing of births

Francesco C. Billari, University of Oxford
Maria Sironi, University College London

Technological innovations directly related to fertility have been linked to the timing of births, i.e. with postponement in the case of contraceptive technology and with “recuperation” in the case of assisted reproductive technology. We argue that the diffusion of the Internet also plays a role as an “enabling” factor in fertility choices, with a particular effect on the timing of fertility. After discussing the potential pathways for this effect, we hypothesize Internet access to contribute to lowering fertility in earlier ages and stages of the life course, and to raising fertility in later ages and stages of the life course. We also hypothesize that these age- and stage-specific effects are stratified by gender and socioeconomic status. We conduct analyses using longitudinal data from the US (NLSY) and UK (Understanding Society).

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Presented in Session 72: Biology, technology, genetics and fertility