Emotion Cultures and Variation in Fertility
Natalie Nitsche1
1Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Quantitative research on cross-national variation in fertility behavior and fertility decline has
considered many explanatory forces, yet, the role of emotions has to date been neglected. This
paper develops a line of argumentation on how emotions of individuals may interact with
‘emotion-cultures’ on the societal level in affecting childbearing behavior and producing
cross-national/regional variation in fertility behaviors and rates. A variety of macro-level
measurements ranging from ‘overall expressivity endorsement’, over the World Giving
Survey, to ‘human and child values’ from the European Social Survey and European Value
Survey will be used to capture ‘emotion-cultures’. Using GLM and fixed effects model, I then
assess whether such ‘emotion-cultures’ may be helpful in understanding cross-national
variation in completed cohort fertility rates, and change in total fertility rates over time. First
results indeed show a significant positive relationship between overall emotional expressivity
endorsement and completed cohort fertility rates across the developed world.