A Microsimulation Model to Study the Interaction between Fertility and Union Formation and Dissolution: An Application to Canada and Quebec

Union formation and dissolution are among the main determinants explaining variations in fertility. Compared to the rest of Canada, Quebec's marital histories are more complex and its prevalence of common-law unions much higher. The objective of this article is to examine the role of marital behaviours on fertility by comparing different indicators of fertility and conjugal life that were obtained through microsimulation. Parameters of the microsimulation model were estimated from hazard regressions performed on the marital and fertility histories collected in two retrospective longitudinal surveys: the Canadian General Social Survey (GSS) 2001 and 2006. Results show that the more complex marital histories of Quebecers can explain more than one-quarter of their fertility differences with the rest of the country.