Can policies enhance fertility in Europe? Vienna, Austria December 2007

International Conference
Can policies enhance fertility in Europe?
6–7 December 2007
Organiser: Vienna Institute of Demography

Speakers include: John Bongaarts, William Butz, François Herán, Massimo Livi-Baci (tentative), Ronald Rindfuss, Arland Thornton, Laurent Toulemon (tentative), et al.

Call for papers The unprecedented, low fertility levels in Europe have raised considerable concern among policymakers. The European Commission’s White Paper The demographic future of Europe –from challenge to opportunity (COM (2006) 271 final) clearly expresses the need for governmental action. The purpose of this conference is to present and discuss past and future trends in the relation between fertility and the prevailing policy environment. In this context, two very different questions are frequently mixed up, namely: (1) Is there a reason for governments to take specific action to enhance fertility? (2) Which policies can influence fertility and to what extent? This conference will solely address the second question. We expect contributions on the following topics:

Indicators of the tempo and quantum of fertility: Which fertility indicators are appropriate for studying the effects of policies? How would policies addressing the tempo of fertility differ from those addressing the quantum?

Desired vs. realised fertility: Is there a persistent gap between desired and realised births? What reasons impede people to have the number of children they want to have? Is the conflict between work and childcare at the heart of the problem? Which policies could help to close the gap?

Micro-macro relations and the welfare state: To understand the role of policies in fertility decisions we need to go to the micro level. However, society imposes constraints and incentives on individuals. Is multi-level analysis the best way to study this question?

Co-benefits and contradictory policies: Many policies are primarily motivated by a social or gender policy rationale with the hope that they may also lead to higher fertility as a side effect. Is this realistic? Would changing certain policies with anti-natalist side effects make a difference? Proposals of other relevant topics are welcome. The conference will bring together scientists and selected policymakers in a lively discussion about the future of Europe’s population. We plan to document the conference by a publication.

Organising Committee The Organising Committee consists of Wolfgang Lutz and Dimiter Philipov, both from the Vienna Institute of Demography. Please e-mail all submissions to Submissions should include an abstract and, wherever possible, the full paper. The submission deadline is 30 Sept. 2007. Acceptance decisions will be communicated in October 2007. If you are interested in this conference, please visit