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Estimating Fertility Responses to Policy Measures in the German Democratic Republic

Thomas Buttner and Wolfgang Lutz
Population and Development Review
Vol. 16, No. 3 (Sep., 1990), pp. 539-555
Published by: Population Council
DOI: 10.2307/1972835
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1972835
Page Count: 17
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Estimating Fertility Responses to Policy Measures in the German Democratic Republic
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Abstract

This note attempts to quantitatively measure the fertility response to a package of pronatalist policy measures introduced in the German Democratic Republic in 1976. To create a standard of comparison between the fertility trend following the policy and the hypothetical trend without the policy, an age-period-cohort model is applied to the data. The authors estimate a "period effect," which is taken as indicating the impact of the policy, and a "cohort effect," which serves as an estimate of how fertility would have behaved without the policy. The results suggest that the policy is responsible for a short-term increase in fertility of about 20 percent and a medium-term (up to 1987) increase of around 15 percent. Legal and statistical changes associated with German reunification will probably make the future assessment of longer term effects impossible. On the other hand, reunification poses the interesting question of what will happen when two societies with different fertility patterns merge.

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