Journal Article

The effect of couple disagreement about child-timing intentions: A parity-specific approach

Using couple data from a longitudinal study conducted in Italy, a country with persistently low fertility levels, we examined the effect of partners' discrepant child-timing intentions on reproductive behavior. We found that the effect of couple disagreement on subsequent fertility is parity-specific and does not depend on whether only the male or the female partner intends to have a(nother) child. The disagreement tends to produce an intermediate childbearing outcome at parities zero and one, while the outcome is shifted more toward agreement on not having a(nother) child at parity two. The empirical evidence suggests that gender equality in reproductive decisionmaking is not driven by partners' equal bargaining power or partners' equal access to economic resources. The findings indicate that the predictive power of child-timing intentions strongly improves if both partners' views are considered in fertility models, and thus support the adoption of couple analysis in fertility research.