This paper examines the determinants of birth rates in Belarus from 1996 to 2007 by using detailed microdata from Belarusian Household Budget Surveys (BHBS). The literature has offered several explanations for the recent fertility trends in Belarus and in other former Soviet Union (FSU) countries undergoing economic transition. It was suggested that the collapse of the Soviet Union and the concomitant economic instability reduced fertility in the 1990s, while the economic growth and economic stabilisation have been responsible for its recovery since 2005.
The paper evaluates these hypotheses by looking at the determinants of the first, the second, and the third births for women aged below 30 and above 30 separately, and provides new evidence on the relevance and relative importance of economic determinants, including income and wages, economic uncertainty, and the impact of maternity and childcare benefits on the results. The findings, it is suggested, can then be incorported into and influence future demographic-based population policies in Belarus and other countries with similar historical experiences.
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