Discussion Papers no. 922

Effects of policy on fertility: A systematic review of (quasi)experiments

This paper describes the results of a systematic review of the literature of policy effects on fertility after 1970 in Europe, USA, Canada and Australia.

Empirical studies were selected through extensive systematic searches, with subsequent literature list screening. Inclusion was conditional on implementing an experimental or quasi-experimental design. 57 published papers and recent working papers were included, covering the topics of parental leave, childcare, health services, universal child transfers and welfare reforms. Childcare and universal transfers seem to have the most positive effects on fertility. Few effects were found for parental leave, but this could be linked to these reforms not lending themselves to efficient (quasi)experimental evaluation. Withdrawing cash transfers to families through welfare reforms has limited fertility effects. Subsidizing assisted reproductive technologies show some promise in increasing birth rates of women above age 35.

About the publication


Effects of policy on fertility: A systematic review of (quasi)experiments


Janna Bergsvik, Agnes Fauske, and Rannveig K. Hart

Series and number

Discussion Papers no. 922


Statistisk sentralbyrå


Discussion Papers



Number of pages


About Discussion Papers

Discussion papers comprise research papers intended for international journals and books. A preprint of a Discussion Paper may be longer and more elaborate than a standard journal article as it may include intermediate calculations, background material etc.