CE41 - Inégalités, discriminations, migrations

Generations and Gender Survey in Taiwan and France – GGS-Europe-Asia

Submission summary

East Asia is home to some of the lowest fertility rates in the world. At the macro level, many governments are concerned about the potential impacts of such low fertility on their economies, population sustainability, and broader aspects of society. At the micro level, evidence suggests that many individuals are having fewer children than they aspire to have, highlighting their inability to achieve their full reproductive rights. Governments in East Asia have tried – and largely failed – to address the issue of low fertility through large-scale investments in family policy, ‘baby bonuses’ and other pro-natalist, pro-family interventions. However, the lack of tangible success can be linked to the superficial understanding of the context itself. The gap between individuals’ fertility aspirations and actual fertility suggests that such very low fertility is a rational response to malfunctioning institutions. Specifically, the literature suggests that social, economic, and generational inequalities lie at the heart of the issue. For example, traditional gender norms in the home, gender discrimination in the workplace, economic insecurity and the unaffordability of housing faced by many young people, plus social pressures to invest in children’s education coupled with high education costs, have been identified as factors leading to very low fertility in East Asia.

Understanding low fertility in East Asia in a comparative framework is critical to fully appreciate the role of these inequalities in low fertility. However, such a comparison is currently not feasible: while surveys on gender and family formation exist in territories across the Asian region, they are not harmonized and so cannot be directly compared. Meanwhile in Europe, and increasingly beyond, the Generations and Gender Programme (GGP) provides large-scale, harmonized, internationally comparable longitudinal panel data for studying the above trends and inequalities. Launched in 2000, the GGP collects survey data on individual life courses, gender relations and relationships between generations, plus macro-level data in its contextual database. Currently, the GGP provides high-quality comparable survey data for 32 countries, representing more than 200,000 individuals, with all data available free of charge from the GGP website (www.ggp-i.org). A new round of Generations and Gender Survey (GGS) data collection is planned in the 2020s, using cutting-edge multimode data collection tools: web interviews based on large, representative samples, complemented by telephone and face-to-face interviews. As the GGS has become the gold-standard for family-related surveys, scholars from other continents (Latin America and Asia) are interested in joining the new round of data collection.

The aim of the present proposal is to capitalize on this momentum. Specifically, we aim to run the first GGS wave in Taiwan, using a multi-mode design of 20% face-to-face interviews and 80% push-to-web interviews using the computer assisted web interviewing (CAWI) system. We will run the first GGS wave in France, based on the most efficient data collection strategy revealed by a pilot survey currently underway. We will also expand and update the contextual database to include Taiwan and variables on legal recognition of same-sex relationships. Finally, researchers from both teams will conduct international comparative analyses of the data generated.

This proposal focuses on Taiwan and France as ideal candidates for comparison. While Taiwan has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world, France has one of the highest rates among developed countries. There are also vast sociocultural differences as well as commonalities between the two settings. This will enable informative comparisons to advance understanding of the role of social and economic inequalities in low fertility East Asian settings, and in turn contribute evidence-based insights for policy formulation.

Project coordination

Laurent TOULEMON (Fécondité, familles, conjugalités)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


Academia Sinica / Institute of Sociology
FAmilles Fécondité, familles, conjugalités

Help of the ANR 400,413 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2021 - 48 Months

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