Red Belt Fertility: The Role of Regional Variation in Benefits Received, Gender Attitudes, Inflation and Political Ideology in Russia

Sunnee Billingsley, Stockholm University
Theodore P. Gerber, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Oxana Sinyavskaya, Independent Institute for Social Policy, Russia and Universiteit Maastricht

Much research has attempted to explain why women began having fewer second children after the transition from communism began. Beyond individual-level factors, this study finds that variation in local gender attitudes, political ideology and factors affecting the household budget influenced the likelihood of having a second child. Specifically, from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey, survey responses to questions about voting behavior and women’s and men’s roles in the household, as well as whether the household received child benefits for the first child, were aggregated for 31 regions that were surveyed in the Russian Gender and Generations Survey. Whether the respondent lived in the “Red Belt” region also appears to have influenced second birth decisions. Estimates of these regional influences are not entirely consistent with each other and with expectations, however, leaving room for further research on better measures or theoretical developments that would explain unintuitive relationships.

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Presented in Poster Session 3