Abstract

This study aims at analysing the process of family formation by adopting a couple's perspective. Using household-level micro data, we examine the determinants of the partners' (contrasting) fertility intentions for the first and the second child. Italy is characterized by a high discrepancy between desired and actual fertility. There is a predominance of traditional gender roles and a lack of policy measures helping parents combine family and working life. Our main hypothesis is that, in Italy, couples in which the female partner has a higher education than the male partner are particularly exposed to a conflict, especially if the male intends to have a child. The same is assumed for working women. Moreover, we suppose that some levels of conflict emerge when women are unsatisfied with the gender division of childcare responsibilities and other family chores. When the couple's intentions to have a second child are considered, our findings are mostly consistent with the assumptions made.

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