Eastern European Family Policy's Effect on Fertility and Women's Economic Status

Open Access
Teti, Isabella Frances
Area of Honors:
Interdisciplinary in Political Science and Women's Studies
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Dr. Lee Ann Banaszak, Thesis Supervisor
  • Dr. Michael Berkman, Honors Advisor
  • Dr. Jennifer Wagner-Lawlor, Honors Advisor
  • family policy
  • maternity policy
  • eastern europe
  • gender studies
  • women in the workforce
  • pronatalism
  • fertility
In this study I explore the effects of pronatalist family policy on fertility and women’s economic status. I do this by analyzing five types of family policy and their impacts in Eastern European countries. I hypothesize that policies which provide more substantial financial benefits to parents would cause the country’s fertility rate to increase. I also hypothesized that more equally distributed policy benefits between both genders, would result in higher women’s economic statuses. My results significantly support both of my hypotheses, suggesting that the most successful pronatalist policies provide the most financial incentives to parents, and that family policies benefit women most when benefits are distributed equally between parents. This confirms previous research which associates increased financial support with an increased willingness to bear children. It simultaneously contradicts the widespread theory that women benefit most from family policies which support them more than fathers and suggests a more equitable division of family benefits would be the most helpful for women in the workforce.