Family policies, social norms and marital fertility decisions: A quasi-experimental study

Lake Lui*, Adam Ka-Lok Cheung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Numerous policy recommendations for increasing fertility in societies with ultralow fertility rates have been made, yet their effectiveness has mostly remained unevaluated. Using a multifactorial vignette design that creates hypothetical policy scenarios, this paper seeks to determine the effects of family-friendly policies and organizational norms on fertility decisions in Hong Kong. Based on a territory-wide random sample (N = 1000), we find a discrepancy between respondents’ ideal and actual number of children. All family policy recommendations, including leave policies, childcare support, housing policies and workhour legislation, may raise fertility but leave policies work better when they include fathers’ involvement instead of just mothers. Childcare support and housing policies have a positive multiplying effect on fertility. Family-friendly organizational norms strengthen the positive effect of workhour legislation and leave policies on fertility. The effects of policies on fertility also vary by respondents’ socioeconomic status and their perception of having children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-409
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Social Welfare
Issue number4
Early online date24 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Demography

User-Defined Keywords

  • childcare support
  • family policies
  • fertility decisions
  • housing policies
  • leave policies
  • social norms
  • workhour legislation


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