The impact of bonus at birth on reproductive behaviour in a lowest-low fertility context: Friuli-Venezia Giulia (Italy) in 1993-2003

Giovanna Boccuzzo, Università di Padova
Marcantonio Caltabiano, Università di Messina
Gianpiero Dalla Zuanna, University of Padua
Marzia Loghi, Instituto Nazionale di Statistica (ISTAT)

During the last decade of ‘900 in the North-Eastern Italian region of Friuli Venezia Giulia (FVG) a family monetary policy specifically oriented towards births was lacking. However, since 1.1.2000 the Government of FVG has introduced some substantive bonuses at birth. These bonuses were differentiated by: marital status (only married women); citizenship (only Italian women); birth order (the bonus grows for the second and mainly the third birth). Moreover, the income threshold for having bonus was not too low. Since 1.1.2004 a new Government substantially reduced the amount of bonuses and the income threshold. We evaluate if these bonuses distributed by FVG Region during the four years 2000-03 gave a significant impact on fertility and abortion choices. We verify if fertility changed in a different way for women more touched by the new legislation, i.e., Italian married women with at least one children. We also check if the impact of monetary measures was higher for less educated women, because in Italy the relationship between income and education is very strong, and the bonus was practically the same in spite of income, but the relative impact should be stronger in a poorer family. Moreover, the fertility behavior should be different in FVG and in other Italian regions, where these policies were not implemented. We use two different methods. First, we compare the graphics of trends of births and abortion ratios for the women touched or not touched by the monetary measures, looking at the differential changes. Second, using the appropriate log-linear models, we measure if the interaction between parity, education and place of birth is statistically significant in the direction that follows our expectations. Our results show that for women with 1 or (mainly) 2+ children birth trends changes after 1999, whereas the trend of newborns without siblings does not change.

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Presented in Session 59: Policy Issues