Fertility Drain or Fertility Gain? the Effect of Emigration on Fertility in Italian Municipalities during the Great Recession

Nicoletta Balbo, Bocconi University
Massimo Anelli, Bocconi University

The present paper aims at uncovering whether selection into migration of people emigrating from Italy to other European countries during the recent economic crisis has any effect on fertility rates in the area of origin of emigrants. Exploiting the richness of the Administrative Registry of Italians Residing Abroad (AIRE) - that collects information about all Italian citizens moving their residence abroad and birth records - and using an instrumental variable approach, we find a negative impact of emigration on fertility at the municipality level. This result suggests that emigrants are selected among those individuals who have a higher risk of having children. The observed negative effect seems concentrated in small towns, whereas it is equally strong in both highly educated and low educated municipalities, not highlighting clear differences between areas with high and low human capital.

Presented in Session 1152: Fertility