To Be or Not to Be a Father? The Construction and Implementation of Fertility Intentions among Well-Educated Men in Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Angelita Carvalho, ENCE
Paula Miranda-Ribeiro, Cedeplar, UFMG
Andrea B. Simão, Cedeplar, UFMG

The objective of this paper is to understand how well-educated men in union construct their fertility intentions and transform them (or not) into actual behavior, in comparison with their spouses. We draw upon a combination of several theoretical approaches (Theory of Planned Behavior; Traits-Desires-Intentions-Behaviour, Preference Theory; a macro-micro model of fertility and its determinants; Theory of Conjunctural Action) and data from 62 short questionnaires, followed by 62 in-depth interviews with 31 well-educated couples (women 35-44 years-old) with 0-2 children, carried out in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in 2013. The results suggest that partners’ desires are crucial to the understanding of fertility behavior. Although one spouse’s desires influence the other’s, men seem more likely to have their fertility preferences implemented. Thus, the expected female empowerment, given these women´s high level of schooling, is in fact quite relative.

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 Presented in Session P3. Fertility Intentions and Behaviors