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  • Presentation - H. Leridon
  • Sustaining Fertility through Public Policy: The Range of Options - P. McDonald
  • Family Policies in Industrialized Countries: Is There Convergence? -A. Gauthier
  • Fertility, Timing of Births and Socio-economic Status in France and Britain: Social Policies and Occupational Polarization -O. Ekert-Jaffé, H. Joshi, K. Lynch, R. Mougin, M. Rendall
  • Richer or Poorer? Marriage as an Anti- Poverty Strategy in the United States -W. Sigle-Rushton, S. McLanahan

Issues of Terminology, Data Collection, and Measurement

  • Identifying the Population with Disability: The Approach of an INSEE Survey on Daily Life and Health - J.-F. Ravaud, A. Letourmy, I. Ville

Short paper

  • The Terminology of Homelessness in France in News Agency Dispatches - J. Damon

Selected from POPULATION 2001

  • The Impact of Data Collection Methodology on the Reporting of Illicit Drug Use by Adolescents - F. Beck, P. Peretti-Watel


Sustaining Fertility through Public Policy: The Range of Options
Mcdonald Peter

This paper describes the range of policies that might be used to support fertility rates at a moderate level, that is, around an average of 1.7-1.9 births per woman. The paper argues that in selecting from the range of policy options, consideration must be given to the existing social-institutional framework in the particular country. In other words, there can be no single cross-national model for success. Each country must seek its own institutionally appropriate approach. Also, each country must deal with the realities of its own political economy. Strategies will not be accepted if they are not based upon a social consensus. In addition, as far as possible, policies to support fertility should be based upon a theory or theories as to why fertility has fallen to low levels in a particular setting. Given that fertility-support policies are likely to be expensive in one way or another, some understanding of the nature of low fertility will provide greater efficiency in policy implementation. The paper reviews several possible general theories relating to low fertility. Finally, it is argued that countries should have some notion about what it is that they are aiming to achieve. Inevitably, demographic sustainability (at least zero population growth) is an ultimate aim for all countries. The question is how far into the future is "ultimate"? Or expressed differently, how much of a decline in the size of the population or the labour force is the country willing to sustain before demographic sustainability is achieved? The example of Italy is used to illustrate this point.

Family Policies in Industrialized Countries: Is There Convergence?
Gauthier Anne H.

This article examines the trends in family policies in 22 industrialized countries since 1970. Based on time-series of indicators of cash benefits and support for working parents, it examines the hypothesis of convergence in national family policies. Results suggest that although all countries have increased their support for families since 1970, and all countries have adapted their policies to reflect the new demographic and economic realities of families, there has been no cross-national convergence. Results even suggest a divergence as captured by the growing cross-national dispersion of the family policy indicators. Results are thus in line with other studies of welfare states which have concluded that cross-national differences persist in spite of global macro-level factors.

Fertility, Timing of Births and Socio-economic Status in France and Britain: Social Policies and Occupational Polarization
Ekert-Jaffé O., Joshi H., Lynch K., Mougin R., Rendall M.

Comparison of family growth and the timing of births in France and Britain calls for consideration of the role of family policy and women’s economic conditions in determining their demographic behaviour. The study relies on data from the Longitudinal Study of England and Wales and the Permanent Demographic Sample in France, that link birth registrations to 1971-1991 and 1968-1990 census data, respectively. Over the period studied, the 1970s through the 1990s, in Britain state intervention has been minimal, while France practised a generous family policy. In parallel, social polarization in fertility behaviour was larger in Britain, and differences in fertility between those women who leave the labour force and those who do not were larger still. In France, differences by socio-occupational group are observed only at third births, although by the second birth there is already an association between parity progression and having left the labour force as of the census observation. In France, almost all married women in managerial occupations become mothers, while in Britain one quarter of such women do not. Fertility in Britain is higher at all birth orders among those not in the labour force and in less-skilled occupations, while in France family policy tends to increase third births in those categories too.Comparing women born in the 1950s to those born in the 1960s reveals that the postponement of marriage and fertility, appreciable in both countries, is more marked in France. Among married women, however, changes in fertility have been negligible. All other things being equal, the differences in fertility by socio-occupational group decrease in France, but not in Britain.

For Richer or Poorer? Marriage as an Anti-Poverty Strategy in the United States
Sigle-Rushton Wendy, Mclanahan Sara

Many conservative politicians in the United States are suggesting that although, as a result of sweeping reforms, states have been successful at moving welfare mothers into paid employment, they have paid too little attention to an integral anti-poverty strategy - encouraging the formation of two-parent families. Comparing the incomes of single mother families to two-parent families, they argue that marriage would reduce poverty. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study, we show that comparing married and single parent families results in substantial overstatement of the economic gains to marriage. We demonstrate that unmarried mothers and their partners are vastly different from married parents when it comes to age, education, health status and behaviour, employment, and wage rates. These differences translate into important differences in earnings capacities, which, in turn, translate into differences in poverty. Even assuming the same family structure and labour supply, our estimates suggest that much of the difference in poverty outcomes by family structure can be attributed to factors other than marital status. Our results also suggest that full employment is essential to lifting poor families - married or otherwise - out of poverty.

Identifying the Population with Disability: The Approach of an INSEE Survey on Daily Life and Health
Ravaud Jean-François, Letourmy Alain, Ville Isabelle

It is very difficult to provide an estimate of the population with disability. For this reason, disability is considered here as a multi-faceted reality that has to be approached from numerous angles. This study is based on the survey "Vie quotidienne et santé" (VQS, Daily Life and Health) conducted by INSEE during the screening phase of the "Handicaps, incapacités, dépendance" (Disability, Functional Limitations, and Dependency) survey. The VQS survey, conducted in combination with the 1999 census, was based on a representative sample of 400,000 persons. It relied on several approaches to disability: functional limitation, need of assistance, restriction of activity, self-attribution of a disability, and official social recognition. First, we analysed the relations between the various approaches by studying the prevalence of disability estimated for each approach taken separately, and the overlap between the resulting sub-populations. Next, we examined the probability of self-attribution of a disability and its determinants by means of logistic regressions. Special attention was paid to the impact of sex and age. The article concludes with a discussion of the methodological contributions of the VQS survey.

The Impact of Data Collection Methodology on the Reporting of Illicit Drug Use by Adolescents
Beck François, Peretti-Watel Patrick.

Surveys to measure the extent of illicit drug use by young people produce contrasting results depending on the data collection method employed. This article compares two surveys, one using a self-completed questionnaire in school, the other a telephone survey conducted at home. The former yields a systematically higher prevalence of drug use over the last year. These differences, which are then analysed for cannabis consumption, seem not to result from selection bias. When analysed for senior high school (lycée) pupils only, they are unchanged after controlling for age and sex. Similar differences are observed on other sensitive questions (truancy, occasional tobacco consumption, suicidal thoughts), suggesting that they are indeed a result of the data collection method. A logistic model is used to evaluate the effect of the collection method, after adjusting for a number of socio-demographic and educational indicators: relative to the telephone interview, the self-completed questionnaire in school increases by 1.7 the probability of reporting cannabis use during the previous year. A possible "group effect" with this form of collection remains to be controlled for, however.

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