Does a Hidden Padlock Keep the Door of Fertility Shut in the Mediterranean Region?


Attempts to read demographic dynamics using exclusively the tools of economics are bound to fail. The aim here is to construct an internally coherent theoretical model - not as an alternative but rather to complement the Rational Choice approach - for interpreting changing transitional behaviours. In such cases, people have to make decisions in a state of strong or even total uncertainty. We assume that when such a state of uncertainty is present, making a decision requires a relaxed state of mind, which makes it possible to let oneself go when faced with the incalculable risk of a transitional choice. The sole intention to make a transitional choice does not necessarily lead to it actually being implemented, since an underlying crisis mood can make intentions ineffectual. The onset of a crisis mood, in turn, could depend on a criticality that unbearably persists, transforming a circumstantial sense of inadequacy vis-à-vis a specific occasion into a generalized sense of inadequacy with regard to the whole world. Some implications of the model for social policies are briefly drawn in the conclusion.