Research Highlights

Did Pronatal Policy in Korea Fail? A Decomposition of Fertility Change from 2000 to 2016

  • Author : Chulhee Lee
  • Journal : Korean Journal of Economic Studies / 66(3) (2018), 1-38


The result of decomposition analysis of the change in total fertility rate (TFR) suggests that marital fertility substantially increased during the last decade after the government started to implement pro-natal policy measures in 2005. The rise of maritality fertility was offset by rapid decline in nuptiality (the fraction of women who are married). The results of panel fixed-effect model estimations based on county-level data show that local characteristics related to pro-natal policies (such as the allowance for newborn children and availability of child care facilities) promoted marital fertility, whereas they were negatively related to the marriage rates of single individuals. These results cast doubts on the general consensus that the pro-natal policies since 2005 entirely failed. The increase in marital fertility, the major aim of the government policies, contributed to keep TFR from plummeting to an extremely low level. Had marital fertility remained unchanged since 2005, TFR would have plunged to 0.73 by 2016 because of the sharp decline in nuptiality.