Economic complexity and fertility: insights from a low fertility country

Reg Stud. 2021 Mar 30;55(8):1388-1402. doi: 10.1080/00343404.2021.1896695. eCollection 2021.


This paper analyzes the relationship between a new indicator of economic context, economic complexity (EC), and fertility change in Italian provinces between 2006 and 2015. We hypothesize that the level of EC is associated with fertility as it reflects a territory's capacity to innovate, grow and create job opportunities. The results illustrate a clear positive association between EC and fertility change across Italian provinces for the period considered, net of traditional fertility predictors. Those areas that stand at the frontiers of EC are also more likely to dominate and adapt to the negative consequences of globalization.

Keywords: F60; Italy; J11; R11; economic complexity; fertility; globalization.

Grant support

The authors acknowledge the financial support provided by: (1) the H2020 European Research Council Research and Innovation Programme [ERC grant agreement number 725961] (EU-FER project ‘Economic Uncertainty and Fertility in Europe’ (principal investigator: Daniele Vignoli); (2) the Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca, 2018 FARE grant ‘Narratives’ (principal investigator: Daniele Vignoli); and (3) 2017 MiUR-PRIN Grant number 2017W5B55Y ‘The Great Demographic Recession' (principal investigator: Daniele Vignoli).