Unraveling the intergenerational transmission of fertility in a historical population

Hilde Bras, Jan Van Bavel, Kees Mandemakers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)

Abstract

In the intergenerational transmission of fertility behavior both genetic and social mechanisms play a role. Genetic inheritance may work through the ability to have children, i.e. the fecundity and fecundability of women (Pearson et al. 1899), and/or through the desire for children or childbearing motivations (Kohler et al. 1999; Miller 1986). Fertility behavior might also be transmitted through socialization, meaning that preferences and attitudes towards family formation are instilled in the younger generation when growing up in the parental home (Duncan et al. 1965). So far however, few studies have addressed social and genetic factors, and their interactions. Moreover, little is known about the interplay of genetic and environment effects with other covariates that are known to influence fertility transmission, such as gender, birth order, social class, religion, regional family systems, and time. In this paper, we address these questions for a historical population. We use a twin and sibling design examining the outcomes for sibs brought up in different socialization contexts and of different degrees of genetic relatedness in order to unravel social and genetic influences and their interplay with e.g. social class, and family system. More concretely, we will compare the reproductive behavior (age at first birth and completed fertility ) of twins to non-twin siblings, and of full siblings to half-siblings. We base our analyses on a large database, named LINKS, which currently contains birth, marriage and death certificates for four different provinces of the Netherlands in the period 1812-1902. By linking the birth certificates of mothers and daughters, and selecting all twin (N=15.000) and appropriate sibling-half-sibling pairs (N=200.000), we constructed an analytical sample fit for analyzing the inheritance of fertility behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPaper presented at the workshop 'The Intergenerational Transmission of Reproductive Behavior: Comparative Perspectives'
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2011
EventInternational Seminar on Intergenerational Transmission of Reproductive Behavior - Leuven, Belgium
Duration: 9 Jun 201110 Jun 2011

Seminar

SeminarInternational Seminar on Intergenerational Transmission of Reproductive Behavior
CountryBelgium
CityLeuven
Period9/06/1110/06/11
OtherInternational Seminar on Intergenerational Transmission of Reproductive Behavior: Comparative Perspectives

Keywords

  • fertility
  • intergenerational transmission
  • behavior genetics
  • historical demography

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