Sailing Close to the Wind? Policy Support and Impact on Third Births in Post-Communist Hungary

Lívia Murinkó, Hungarian Demographic Research Institute
Zsolt Speder, HDRI
Livia Oláh, Stockholm University, Dept. of Sociology

Since the early 1990s fertility fall steeply in Central-Eastern European countries including Hungary where substantial governmental efforts sought to stop or at least reduce the decline. Two comprehensive policy measures ‒ the extension of child-raising allowance up until the 8th birthday of the youngest child in large families (‘full time motherhood’) and a new tax-relief system ‒ aimed at supporting parents with three or more children specifically. The success of these measures, if any, is however difficult to detect in aggregate statistics. Here we rely on event-history methods to analyze data from the Hungarian Generation and Gender Survey to examine the effect of these policies and to reveal differences in higher-order childbearing behaviour among social groups related to the measures in question. The results indicate a significant, and differentiated effect on third-birth risks. While the extension of the child-raising allowance increased third-birth risks among the least educated, the generous tax relief seems to have similar effect on parents with tertiary education.

Presented in Session 1206: Policy Issues