Veranstaltungen des DIW Berlin/
Events of DIW Berlin

26 July 2017

SOEP Brown Bag Seminar Does Broadband Internet Affect Fertility?

The spread of high-speed Internet epitomizes the digital revolution, affecting several aspects of our life. Using high quality German panel data, we test whether the availability of broadband Internet influences fertility choices in a low fertility setting, which is well-known for the difficulty to combine work and family life. Broadband can influence fertility through various pathways, including the provision of information, partnership formation, and, importantly, the opportunity to combine work and family. The latter mechanism, in particular, generates a “digital divide”, with potential benefits for high-skilled workers only. We analyze data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), and exploit a strategy devised by Falck et al. (2014) to obtain causal estimates of the impact of broadband on fertility. We find positive effects of high-speed Internet availability on the fertility of high-skilled women over 25s. Effects are not significant among men and low-skilled women. We also find evidence of negative effects on the fertility of under-25 individuals. We show that Internet access significantly increases the share of women reporting teleworking or working parttime. Furthermore, we find positive effects on time spent with children and on overall life satisfaction. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that high-speed Internet allows high-educated women to conciliate work and motherhood and may promote fertility with a "digital divide". At the same time, higher access to information on the risks and costs of early pregnancy and childbearing may explain the negative effects on younger adults.

(joint with Francesco Billari and Osea Giuntella)

  • Luca Stella (Bocconi University and IZA)

  • Time
    13:30 - 14:30
    DIW Berlin (Eleanor-Dulles-Raum) DIW Berlin im Quartier 110 Room 5.2.010 Mohrenstraße 58 10117 Berlin
    at DIW Berlin
    Tel.: +49 30 89789 336
    Tel.: +49 30 89789 272