Internet and the Timing of Births
Presented by: Francesco Billari (Bocconi University, Milan) ; Discussant: Alessandra Trimarchi (Ined)
Technological innovations directly related to fertility have been linked to the timing of births, i.e. with postponement in the case of contraceptive technology and with “recuperation” in the case of assisted reproductive technology. We argue that the diffusion of the Internet also plays a role as an “enabling” factor in fertility choices, with a particular effect on the timing of fertility. After discussing the potential pathways for this effect, we hypothesize that Internet access contributes to the postponement of fertility during the earlier ages and stages of the life course, and to a recuperation in later ages and stages of the life course. We use data drawn from different sources to test our hypothesis. Consistent with our prior, results provide evidence that high-speed Internet decreases fertility among young women and increases adult fertility among high-skilled women.
Francesco C. Billari
Francesco C. Billari is Professor of Demography, President of “Dondena”, and Dean of the Faculty at Bocconi University. He worked previously at Oxford’s Department of Sociology, and Nuffield College, and at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research. He served as President and Secretary-General/Treasurer of EAPS, received the “Clogg Award” from the PAA, and the Doctorate Honoris Causa from the ESPO Faculty of UCLouvain. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and a Research Affiliate of the Population Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania.
His main interests are fertility and family change, the transition to adulthood, demographic methods, and the digital revolution. He has worked in a number of international projects, and is currently the PI of the ERC AdG DisCont.