Letizia Mencarini


Arnstein Aassve, Bruno Arpino, Anna Barbuscia, Pierluigi Conzo, Giulia Fuochi, Marco Le Moglie, Francesca Luppi, Chiara Rapallini, Daniele Vignoli, Tugba Zeydanli




The five years SWELL-FER (Subjective Well Being and Fertility) project examines subjective well-being (SWB) and demographic behaviour, with a particular focus on fertility in advanced societies, across time and space. Incorporating SWB as a determinant of fertility trends and variations allows for at least two ground-breaking innovations for demographic theory. First, the project helps to evaluate the validity of the key theoretical perspectives for understanding fertility behaviour. Second, the project will make explicit the implicit assumption that fertility contributes to higher SWB among those choosing to have children.

The objectives of the project are:

  • Advance our understanding of the complex link between SWB and fertility, bringing together a longitudinal perspective with a comparative perspective.
  • Generate insights into the role of SWB in explaining limitations of the existing theories of fertility behaviour and advance theoretical frameworks for understanding fertility behaviour by explicitly taking SWB into account.
  • Examine the role of policies, welfare provision and social norms operating at different levels with respect to the link between SWB and fertility, addressing possible policy measures that would improve the SWB of individuals and couples, leading eventually to increased fertility.
  • Communicate our findings and stimulate the academic and policy debate on how SWB matters for fertility. In doing so, important aims are to highlight the relevance of SWB for future data collection efforts and the potential use of SWB for fertility projections