Access to Childcare in Europe: Parents’ Logistical Challenges in Cross-national Perspective

McLean, Caitlin; Naumann, Ingela and Koslowski, Alison
Journal of Social Policy and Administration (2017). 51 (7): 1367-1385
DOI: 10.1111/spol.12242

A burgeoning comparative literature has identified the centrality of childcare policy and provision in promoting parental, and specifically maternal, participation in paid employment across countries. This literature has focused on the importance of macro-level institutional arrangements, with a special emphasis on variation in availability of, and access to, formal early childhood education and care services. However, there has been limited comparative exploration of what this means in practice at the micro-level: the everyday challenges parents face when attempting to navigate the childcare system and the labour market simultaneously. Taking inspiration from human geography literature on the concept of ‘space–time fixity’, we present cross-national findings on the logistical challenges of arranging childcare. Evidence is drawn from interviews with parent- and childcare-related organizations in six European countries: Germany, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK. Our research provides a richer understanding of childcare availability than would a sole focus on formal childcare services, by elucidating the difficulties parents face in organizing access to these services, which can be a challenge to some extent even in contexts where childcare services are comprehensive and affordable.

Posted December 5 2017 – Read more

Social policies, separation, and second birth spacing in Western Europe

Kreyenfeld, Michaela; Geisler, Esther; Castro Martín, Teresa; Hannemann, Tina; Heintz-Martin, Valerie; Jalovaara, Marika; Kulu, Hill; Meggiolaro, Silvia; Mortelmans, Dimitri; Pastels, Inge; Seiz, Marta and Solaz, Anne
Demographic Research (2017). 37(37) 1245-1274.
DOI: 10.4054/DemRes.2017.37.37

Objective: This paper studies postseparation fertility behavior. The aim is to investigate whether, and if so how, separation affects second birth spacing in Western European countries. Methods: This analysis makes use of rich survey data from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom, as well as from Finnish register data. We thus cover the behavior of a large proportion of the population of Western Europe. We also use descriptive measures, such as Kaplan‒Meier survival functions and cumulative incidence curves. In the multivariate analysis, we employ event history modeling to show how education relates to postseparation fertility behavior. Results: There are large differences in postseparation fertility behavior across European countries. For Spain and Italy, we find that only a negligibly small proportion of the population have a second child after separating from the other parent of the firstborn child. The countries with the highest proportion of second children with a new partner are the United Kingdom, Germany, and Finland. In all countries, separation after first birth leads to a sharp increase in the birth interval between first and second births. Contribution: Our study is a contribution to the demographic literature that aims at understanding birth spacing patterns in Western Europe. Furthermore, we draw attention to the role of postseparation policies in explaining country differences in fertility behavior in contemporary societies.

Posted October 24 2017 – Read more

The time benefits of young adult home stayers in France and Italy: a new perspective on the transition to adulthood?

Mencarini, Letizia; Pailhé, , Ariane; Solaz, Anne & Tanturri, Maria Letizia
Genus (2017) 73:6
DOI 10.1186/s41118-017-0021-7

This article analyses how two co-residing generations contribute to the housework workload in Italy and France during the early 2000s. It studies the intergenerational exchange of time between young adults and their parents by indirectly comparing the level of domestic comfort enjoyed by young people in the two closely neighbouring countries. A focus on the reasons for staying in the parental home provides an explanation for the tendency of young Italian adults to prolong their stay in the family nest. The results of time-use surveys suggest that young Italians (especially young men) may benefit more than their French counterparts in co-residing with their parents. Beyond the compositional or structural effects, they perform fewer domestic tasks than their French counterparts, a result that is related to different cultural practices.

Posted October 3 2017 – Read more

Home bitter home? Gender, living arrangements, and the exclusion from homeownership among older Europeans

Vignoli, Daniele; Tanturri, Maria Letizia & Acciai, Francesco
Genus (2016) 72:9
DOI 10.1186/s41118-016-0014-y

Homeownership is the most important asset among the elderly in Europe, but very little is known about gender and living arrangement differences in this domain. This paper aims at exploring patterns of exclusion from homeownership among middle-aged and older Europeans from a gender perspective, and with a special focus on their household composition. The analysis is based on the fourth wave of the “Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe” and includes a sub-sample of about 56,000 individuals aged 50 or over, living in 16 European countries. We estimated a set of multinomial logit models to examine the probability of being either tenant or rent-free occupiers versus homeowners. Our findings show that women are generally more likely to be excluded from homeownership than men. Nevertheless, a closer look suggests that the gender gap in homeownership is essentially generated by compositional differences between men and women, with the most relevant factor being household type. Older women are almost as twice as likely as men to live alone, which is associated — other things being equal — with a particular low likelihood to be homeowners virtually in every European country.

Posted October 3 2017 – Read more

Self-esteem in children in joint physical custody and other living arrangements

Turunen, Jani; Fransson, Emma & Bergström, Malin
Social Public Health (2017). Volume 149, pp 106-112

Objectives: Parental support has been shown to be important for children’s self-esteem, which in turn is related to later important life outcomes. Today, an increasing number of children in the Western world spend time in both the parents’ respective households after a separation. Children who live with both parents report more parental support than children who live only with one parent after a divorce. We took the opportunity of the commonness of children sharing their time between their parents’ homes in Sweden to investigate children’s self-esteem in relation to family type. Study design and methods: With nationally representative survey data (ULF) collected from both parents and children, we analyze differences in children’s self-esteem among 4823 10–18 year olds in nuclear families, joint physical custody and those living mostly or only with one parent after a separation using ordinary least squares regression, adjusting for demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. Results: We found no significant difference in self-esteem between children who lived equally much with both parents, mostly with one parent and those in nuclear families, whereas children in single care showed lower self-esteem compared with children in the other living arrangements. The difference was not explained by socioeconomic factors. Conclusion: The self-esteem of children who share their time between their parent’s respective homes after a separation does not deviate from that in their peers in nuclear families. Instead, those in single care reported lower self-esteem than those in the other living arrangements. These differences were not explained by socioeconomic factors. Longitudinal studies are needed to establish pre- and post-separation family characteristics that influence self-esteem and well-being in young people.

Posted September 26 2017 – Read more

Promoting Parental Leave for Immigrant Fathers—What Role Does Policy Play?

Tervola, Jussi; Duvander, Ann-Zofie and Mussino, Eleonora
Social Politics (2017). 24(3): 269–297

The gender differences in labor force participation and take-up of parental leave are accentuated in immigrant populations. This study examines whether certain policy features of parental leave are effective in leveling out the gendered differences among immigrants. We compare two distinct policy contexts, Finland and Sweden, and analyze the impacts of three policy reforms. Our results imply that policy features such as the earmarking of days and flexibility are the reason why immigrant fathers’ take-up of leave is higher in Sweden. However, analysis of policy reforms suggests that other contextual factors also play a role.

Posted September 5 2017 – Read more

Childbearing patterns among immigrant women and their daughters in Spain:
Over-adaptation or structural constraints

González-Ferrer, Amparo; Castro-Martín, Teresa; Kraus, Elisabeth and Eremenko, Tatiana
Demographic Research (2017). 37(19) 600-634.

Background: Spain, a country with one of the lowest fertility levels in the world, has recently received intense immigration flows that may contribute to fertility recovery. Objective: The objective of this study is to examine whether the childbearing behaviour of immigrant women and their descendants shows a pattern of convergence with that of Spanish women born in or after 1950. Methods: After merging data from the Fertility and Values Survey (2006) and the National Immigrants Survey (2007), we analyse the transition to first, second, and third birth using event history models, to identify variations in timing and incidence of birth transitions between native Spanish women and immigrant groups. Results: Previous literature has found that migration disrupts immigrants’ fertility only temporarily; however, in the case of Spain, most migrant women who moved before starting family formation do not seem to fully compensate for migration-related disruption of fertility at a later stage. Our findings challenge the widespread belief that immigrants’ childbearing alone will allow Spain to leave behind the current lowest-low and latest-late fertility scenario. Contribution: This article analyzes for the first time the fertility of different immigrant generations in Spain compared to native women, applying event history techniques. Our findings challenge conventional wisdom that immigration will improve very low fertility levels in Spain.

Posted September 5 2017 – Read more

Shared Physical Custody and Children’s Experience of Stress

Turunen, Jani
Journal of Divorce & Remarriage (2017). 58(5): 371-392, DOI: 10.1080/10502556.2017.1325648

This article studies shared physical custody in Sweden, the country in the world where the phenomenon is most prevalent. We ask whether children in shared physical custody settings are more likely to report high levels of stress compared to children living in sole custody. The analysis is based on data with combined information from parents, children, and administrative registers. The models are controlled control for interparental as well as parent–child relationship quality and parents’ income. The results show that children sharing residence equally have lower likelihood of experiencing high levels of stress. The results can be interpreted as evidence for a positive effect of continuing everyday-like parental relationships after a family dissolution.

Posted August 18 2017 – Read more

Doing family in the age of involved fatherhood: Fathers’ accounts of everyday life in a German context

Jentsch, Birgit and Schier, Michaela
Families, Relationships and Societies (2017). Published online first.

Qualitative interviews with men, who considered themselves to be ‘active fathers’, explored how they and their partners ‘do family’, particularly with regards to dividing childcare and chores, and awarding the right to self-care. Rationales, motivations and principles of the distribution of parental duties and rights in the context of everyday life were examined. While pragmatic solutions to familial challenges prevailed, normative approaches also featured, for example, regarding fathers’ desire to support their partner’s career. Furthermore, the research explored interviewees’ notions of active fatherhood. It revealed that fathers reacted with different approaches to conflicting demands on them (employer versus family). They adopted flexible interpretations of involved fatherhood in order to meet their aspirations of being an active parent.

Posted August 18 2017 – Read more

Parenting and Family Structure After Divorce: Are They Related?

Bastaits, Kim and Mortelmans, Dimitri
Journal of Divorce & Remarriage (2017). Published online first DOI:10.1080/10502556.2017.1345200

Children are raised in various family structures after a parental divorce. Currently, research including both repartnering and the custodial arrangement when investigating parenting is scarce and mainly proceeds from a maternal perspective, ignoring potential partner effects. Consequently, we investigate differences in parenting after divorce according to family structure (repartnering and custodial arrangement), analyzing a dyadic subsample of the multiactor Divorce in Flanders data set (616 children and parents) using a structural equation model. We conclude that living with a partner has a positive effect on parenting, whereas not living with the child has a relatively negative effect on parenting, regardless of the parental gender.

Posted August 18 2017 – Read more

Adult children stepping in? Long-term care reforms and trends in children’s provision of household support to impaired parents in the Netherlands

van den Broek, Thijs; Dykstra, Pearl A. and van der Veen, Romke J.
Ageing and Society (2017). Published online first. DOI:

Recent long-term care (LTC) reforms in the Netherlands are illustrative of those taking place in countries with a universalistic LTC model based on extensive provision of state-supported services. They entail a shift from de-familialisation, in which widely available state-supported LTC services relieve family members from the obligations to care for relatives in need, to supported familialism, in which family involvement in care-giving is fostered through support and recognition for families in keeping up their caring responsibilities. Using data from four waves of the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study (N = 2,197), we show that between 2002 and 2014 the predicted probability that adult children provide occasional household support to impaired parents rose substantially. Daughters more often provided household support to parents than did sons, but no increase in the gender gap over time was found. We could not attribute the increase in children’s provision of household support to drops in the use of state-supported household services. The finding that more and more adult children are stepping in to help their ageing parents fits a more general trend in the Netherlands of increasing interactions in intergenerational families.

Posted August 18 2017 – Read more

The socioeconomic determinants of repartnering after divorce or separation in Belgium

Pasteels, Inge and Mortelmans, Dimitri
Demographic Research (2017). 36(58) 1785-1812

Background: The increasing prevalence of higher-order unions is one of the major changes in family life in recent decades. Objective: By using register data, we aim to give a unique view on how income components – amount and composition – influence the likelihood of repartnering after divorce or separation in Belgium. Methods: We analyse a sample of 46,648 broken marriages and 67,053 separated cohabitations from the Belgian Data Warehouse Labour Market and Social Protection database, using discrete-time event history models. Results: The chances of men repartnering increase in higher income quintiles. Women in lower income quintiles are more likely to repartner, while women in higher income groups are less likely to repartner. These patterns have been found to hold regardless of the type of previous union. Furthermore, divorcees are more likely to repartner than former cohabiters are. The type of previous relationship hardly influences the impact of the amount of income on repartnering dynamics. As for the composition of income, being divorced decreases repartnering chances in cases of irregular labour, irrespective of gender. Women who are in work are more likely to repartner if they are divorced rather than separated, while men receiving unemployment benefits and integration income are more likely to repartner if they are divorced. Conclusions: Repartnering is evolving to a two-tier system, with a wide discrepancy between lowest and highest income groups. Type of previous relationship makes hardly any difference to the impact of the amount of income on repartnering dynamics, but partially drives the impact of the composition of income. Contribution: This analysis greatly improves on previous measurements of earnings and brings in a life course perspective.

Posted June 13 2017 – Read more

How demographic patterns and social policies shape interdependence among lives in the family realm

Dykstra, Pearl and Hagestad, Gunhild
European Population Horizons 2016; 13(2): AOP; ISSN (Online) 2451-3121

Our starting point is that a social psychological approach dominates the literature on interdependent or “linked” lives (Elder, 1994). We argue that interdependence is not only social-psychological, but is also structured on a macro-level. More specifically, we illustrate ways in which demographic change, such as increased co-longevity, creates different opportunities for interdependence for men and women. In addition, we draw attention to the role of national policies, distinguishing ways in which legislation mandates generational interdependence (e.g., legal obligations to provide financial support), blocks generational interdependence (e.g., grandparents not granted the right to raise grandchildren when parents cannot provide adequate care; migration laws not granting temporary visits to enable the provision of care), generates generational interdependence (e.g., daddy quota), and lightens generational interdependence (e.g., less reliance on grandparental care in Northern and Western Europe due to public support to parents of young children). We pay specific attention to childless men and women, questioning the primacy assigned to kinship ties in health care and long-term support policies. Gender receives consistent consideration throughout the paper.

Posted May 22 2017 – Read more

Family Dynamics and Child Outcomes: An Overview of Research and Open Questions

Härkönen, Juho; Bernardi, Fabrizio and Boertien, Diederik
European Journal of Population (2017). 33(2) 163-184

Previous research has documented that children who do not live with both biological parents fare somewhat worse on a variety of outcomes than those who do. In this article, which is the introduction to the Special Issue on “Family dynamics and children’s well-being and life chances in Europe,” we refine this picture by identifying variation in this conclusion depending on the family transitions and subpopulations studied. We start by discussing the general evidence accumulated for parental separation and ask whether the same picture emerges from research on other family transitions and structures. Subsequently, we review studies that have aimed to deal with endogeneity and discuss whether issues of causality challenge the general picture of family transitions lowering child well-being. Finally, we discuss whether previous evidence finds effects of family transitions on child outcomes to differ between children from different socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds, and across countries and time-periods studied. Each of the subsequent articles in this Special Issue contributes to these issues. Two articles provide evidence on how several less often studied family forms relate to child outcomes in the European context. Two other articles in this Special Issue contribute by resolving several key questions in research on variation in the consequences of parental separation by socioeconomic and immigrant background, two areas of research that have produced conflicting results so far.

Posted May 17 2017 – Read more

Family Trajectories and Well-being of Children Born to Lone Mothers in the UK

Mariani, Elena; Özcan, Berkay and Goisis, Alice
European Journal of Population (2017). 33(2) 185-215

We investigate how lone mothers’ heterogeneity in partnership trajectories is associated with children’s well-being. We use data from the Millennium Cohort Study, which follows a large sample of children born in the UK in 2000–2002. We divide children who were born to lone mothers into four groups based on their mothers’ partnership trajectories between birth and age seven, which cover more than 80% of these children’s family experiences. We then analyse how these trajectories are associated with markers of health, cognitive and socio-emotional outcomes measured at around age seven. We find that compared to the children that live continuously with lone mothers, children whose biological father stably joined the household have better cognitive and socio-emotional outcomes. In contrast, children in trajectories characterised by living with a stepfather or who experienced biological father joining in the family followed by biological parents’ dissolution had outcomes similar to children living continuously with lone mothers. The results underscore the importance of treating children born to lone mothers as a heterogeneous category.

Posted May 17 2017 – Read more

Does Living in a Fatherless Household Compromise Educational Success? A Comparative Study of Cognitive and Non-cognitive Skills

Radl, Jonas; Salazar, Leire and Cebolla-Boado, Héctor
European Journal of Population (2017). 33(2) 217-242

This study addresses the relationship between various family forms and the level of cognitive and non-cognitive skills among 15- to 16-year-old students. We measure cognitive skills using standardized scores in mathematics; non-cognitive abilities are captured by a composite measure of internal locus of control related to mathematics. A particular focus lies on father absence although we also examine the role played by co-residence with siblings and grandparents. We use cross-nationally comparable data on students participating in the Programme for International Student Assessment’s release for 2012. By mapping inequalities by family forms across 33 developed countries, this study provides robust cross-country comparable evidence on the relationship of household structure with both cognitive and non-cognitive skills. The study produces three key results: first, the absence of fathers from the household as well as co-residence with grandparents is associated with adverse outcomes for children in virtually all developed countries. Second, this is generally true in terms of both cognitive and non-cognitive skills, although the disadvantage connected to both family forms is notably stronger in the former than in the latter domain. Finally, there is marked cross-national diversity in the effects associated with the presence in the household of siblings and especially grandparents which furthermore differs across the two outcomes considered.

Posted May 17 2017 – Read more

Explaining Conflicting Results in Research on the Heterogeneous Effects of Parental Separation on Children’s Educational Attainment According to Social Background

Bernardi, Fabrizio and Boertien, Diederik
European Journal of Population (2017). 33(2) 243-266

In recent years, researchers have become increasingly interested in how the effects of parental separation on children’s educational attainment vary with social background. On the one hand, parents with more resources might be better able to prevent possible adverse events like separation to affect their children’s outcomes. On the other hand, children from higher social backgrounds might have more resources to lose from a parental separation. A wide range of empirical studies on the issue have come to inconsistent conclusions, with support found for both perspectives. The aim of this paper is to monitor the influence of methodological and operational choices on the different results observed across studies. We focus on aspects such as the operationalization of key variables, the measurement of inequality in absolute and relative terms and the different strategies used to address endogeneity. We study the effects of parental separation on educational attainment for a cohort of British children born in 1970 and find that conclusions change depending on whether social background is measured using the mother’s or father’s characteristics and whether relative or absolute differences between groups are considered. Results are relatively insensitive to the operationalization of dependent variables and the treatment of missing data. When using data from Understanding Society instead of the British Cohort Study, results also did not change. We reflect on how these findings can explain the contradictory results from earlier studies on the topic, and how heterogeneity in the effects of parental separation by socio-economic background should be interpreted.

Posted May 17 2017 – Read more

Parental Separation and School Performance Among Children of Immigrant Mothers in Sweden

Erman, Jeylan and Härkönen, Juho
European Journal of Population (2017). 33(2) 267-292

Immigration and family change are two demographic processes that have changed the face of European societies and are associated with inequalities in child outcomes. Yet there is little research outside the USA on whether the effects of family dynamics on children’s life chances vary by immigrant background. We asked whether the effect of parental separation on educational achievement varies between immigrant backgrounds (ancestries) in Sweden. We used Swedish population register data on two birth cohorts (born in 1995 and 1996) of Swedish-born children and analyzed parental separation penalties on grade sums and non-passing grades (measured at ninth grade) across ten ancestry groups, defined by the mother’s country of birth. We found that the parental separation effects vary across ancestries, being weakest among children with Chilean-born mothers and strongest among children with mothers born in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In general, the effects were weaker in groups in which parental separation was a more common experience.

Posted May 17 2017 – Read more

The fertility response to the Great Recession in Europe and the United States: Structural economic conditions and perceived economic uncertainty

Comolli, Chiara Ludovica
Demographic Research (2017). 36(51) 1549-1600

Background: This study further develops Goldstein et al.’s (2013) analysis of the fertility response to the Great Recession in western economies. Objective: The purpose of this paper is to shed light on the fertility reaction to different indicators of the crisis. Beyond the structural labor market conditions, I investigate the dependence of fertility rates on economic policy uncertainty, government financial risk, and consumer confidence. Methods: Following Goldstein et al. (2013), I use log-log models to assess the elasticity of age-, parity-, and education-specific fertility rates to an array of indicators. Besides the inclusion of a wider set of explanatory variables, I include more recent data (2000−2013) and I enlarge the sample to 31 European countries plus the United States. Results: Fertility response to unemployment in some age- and parity-specific groups has been, in more recent years, larger than estimated by Goldstein et al. (2013). Female unemployment has also been significantly reducing fertility rates. Among uncertainty measures, the drop in consumer confidence is strongly related to fertility decline and in Southern European countries the fertility response to sovereign debt risk is comparable to that of unemployment. Economic policy uncertainty is negatively related to TFR even when controlling for unemployment. Conclusions: Theoretical and empirical investigation is needed to develop more tailored measures of economic and financial insecurity and their impact on birth rates. Contribution: The study shows the nonnegligible influence of economic and financial uncertainty on birth rates during the Great Recession in Western economies, over and above that of structural labor market conditions.

Posted May 17 2017 – Read more

Key practices of equality within long parental leaves

Schadler, Cornelia; Rieder, Irene; Schmidt, Eva-Maria; Zartler, Ulrike and Richter, Rudolf
Journal of European Social Policy (2017). 1-13

The birth of a child often reinforces an unequal division of employment and care work among heterosexual couples. Parental leave programmes that foster long leaves tend to increase this inequality within couples. However, by investigating a particularly long parental leave system, we show that specific practices enable parents to share care work equally. Our ethnographic study includes interviews with heterosexual couples, observations in prenatal classes and information material available to parents. Specific sets of practices – managing economic security, negotiating employment, sharing information with peers and feeding practices – involved parents who shared care work equally and parents who divided care work unequally. Contingent on specific situated practices, the arrangement of care work shifted in an equal or unequal direction. Even within long parental leaves, equality between parents was facilitated when economic security was provided through means other than income, when work hours were flexible, mothers had a close relationship to work, information on sharing equally was available and children were bottle-fed. Consequently, an equal share of care work is not the effect of solely structural, individual, cultural or normative matters, but of their entanglement in practices.

Posted May 10 2017 – Read more

The convergence of second-generation immigrants’ fertility patterns in France: The role of sociocultural distance between parents’ and host country

Pailhé, Ariane
Demographic Research (2017). 36(45):1361-1398


Background: The fertility of immigrants’ descendants is an important topic for demographers, since it affects the structure of the future population. However, little attention has been devoted to the fertility behaviour of the second generation in Europe. Objective: This study analyses the degree to which fertility of the descendants of immigrants is similar to that of French natives. It evaluates the extent to which the observed differences arise from the sociocultural distance between parents’ country and host country and from structural determinants. Methods: We analyse the transition to first, second, and third births among different groups of immigrants’ daughters (from the Maghreb, sub-Saharan Africa, Turkey, and Southeast Asia), and compare them to native-born women using discrete-time logistic regressions. The data is drawn from the Trajectories and Origins Survey (2008), which oversamples immigrants and their descendants. Results: We show a convergence towards French standards that differs across groups of origin. Women of Southeast Asian descent deviate from the fertility pattern of their parents, while those of Turkish descent preserve their parents’ cultural heritage. These different paths of adaptation between groups partly reflect cultural distance between parents’ country and host country. They also depend on family social capital, family structure, and family values. Access to a higher level of education is a crucial factor in erasing differences between groups. Conclusions: The fertility behaviour of most groups of descendants of immigrants is converging towards that of French natives. Cultural factors have much less influence on childbearing patterns than on union formation. Contribution: This paper extends the literature on the patterns and determinants of descendants of immigrants’ fertility in France. It shows that they significantly differ by birth order.

Posted May 2 2017 – Read more

Childbearing among first- and second-generation Russians in Estonia against the background of the sending and host countries

Puur, Allan; Rahnu, Leen; Abuladze, Liili; Sakkeus, Luule and Zakharov, Sergei
Demographic Research (2017). 36(41):1209-1254

An expanding literature documents the childbearing patterns of migrants and their descendants in contemporary Europe. The existing evidence pertains mainly to the northern, western, and southern regions of the continent, while less is known about the fertility of migrants who have moved between the countries of Eastern Europe. Objective: The aim of this study is to examine the fertility patterns of first- and second-generation Russians in Estonia, relative to the sending and host populations. Methods: The study draws on the Estonian and Russian Generations and Gender Surveys. Proportional hazards models are estimated for the transitions to first, second, and third births. Results: Russian migrants in Estonia exhibit greater similarity to the sending population, with a lower propensity for having a second and third birth than the host population. This pattern extends to the descendants of migrants. However, mixed Estonian-Russian parentage, enrolment in Estonian-language schools, and residence among the host population are associated with the convergence of Russians’ childbearing behaviour with the host-country patterns. The findings support the cultural maintenance and adaptation perspectives; selectivity was found to be less important. Contribution: The study focuses on a previously under-researched context and underscores the importance of contextual factors in shaping migrants’ fertility patterns. It raises the possibility that, depending on the childbearing trends and levels among the sending and receiving populations, large-scale migration may reduce rather than increase aggregate fertility in the host country. With the advancement of the fertility transition in sending countries, this situation may become more common in Europe in the future.

Posted April 18 2017 – Read more

The Impact of Siblings on the Geographic Distance Between Adult Children and Their Ageing Parents. Does Parental Need Matter?

van den Broek, Thijs and Dykstra, Pearl A.
Population Space and Place (2017). Published online first. DOI: 10.1002/psp.2048

Research consistently shows that children with siblings live at a greater distance from their parents than do only children. We extend this literature by assessing whether this difference varies as a function of parental need. Multinomial logistic regression analyses of German Ageing Survey data enriched with indicators at the district (Nomenclature of Statistical Territorial Units level three) level (n = 2,028) show that, in general, children with a sibling are less likely than only children to share a household with a parent. We do not find that children with a sibling are more likely than only children to live at great distance, that is, more than 2 hours away, from their parents. The differences between only children and children with siblings in parent–child proximity are most pronounced when parents are coping with severe health limitations. It is well established that only children are more likely than children with siblings to provide support and care to ageing parents. Our findings suggest that, in addition, only children might be more compelled than their counterparts with siblings to adjust their living arrangements in order to facilitate caregiving when parent care needs manifest themselves.

Posted March 30 2017 – Read more

Why does fertility remain high among certain UK-born ethnic minority women?

Kulu, Hill and Hannemann, Tina
Demographic Research (2016). 35(49): 1441-1488

Background: Previous research has shown high total fertility among certain UK-born ethnic minorities, but the reasons behind their high fertility have remained far from clear. Some researchers attribute their elevated fertility levels to cultural factors, whereas others argue that high fertility is the consequence of their poor education and labour market prospects. Objective: This study investigates fertility among the descendants of immigrants in the UK and examines the determinants of high fertility among certain ethnic minority groups. Methods: We use data from the Understanding Society study and apply multivariate event history analysis. Results: The analysis shows, first, that relatively high second-, third-, and fourth-birth rates are responsible for the elevated total fertility among certain UK-born minorities, especially women of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin. There is little variation in the first-birth rates among natives and immigrant descendants. Second, although fertility differences between ethnic minorities and native British women slightly decrease once religiosity and number of siblings are controlled for, significant differences persist. We conclude that cultural factors account for some elevated fertility among ethnic groups in the UK, whereas the role of education and employment seem to be only minor. Contribution: Cultural factors account for some elevated fertility among ethnic minorities in the UK, whereas the role of education and employment seem to be negligible.

Posted December 14 2016 – Read more

Transition to adulthood in France: Do children of immigrants differ
from natives?

Ferrari, Giulia and Pailhé, Ariane
Advances in Life Course Research (2017). 31: 34-56

This study examines differences in patterns of transition to adulthood among children of immigrants and natives in France. We simultaneously analyze the working-related and demographic events that make up the transition to adulthood for two main groups of immigrants’ children (i.e., North African and Southern European) and compare them to the pathway of native-born French. We identify five groups of similar trajectories using sequence and cluster analysis. In order to analyze how trajectories to adulthood are shaped by ethnic origin, gender and background characteristics, we estimate multinomial logistic regression on the likelihood of belonging to each of the five selected clusters. We do not find huge differences between children of immigrants and natives. However, specific patterns do emerge for immigrants’ children. They less frequently follow paths with long periods of autonomy and adopt the more economically constrained pathways to adulthood. In particular, they stay significantly longer in the parental home, partly because their parents come from societies characterized by strong family ties, and partly because they have greater difficulties in becoming economically self-sufficient. For children of immigrants from North Africa, especially women, the entry into adulthood is slower and is less marked by union formation, whether cohabitation or marriage. Finally, children of immigrants from Southern Europe behave more like native French.

Posted December 7 2016 – Read more

Equality at home – A question of career? Housework, norms, and policies in a European comparative perspective

Fahlén, Susanne
Demographic Research (2016). 35 (48): 1409-1440

Background: Dual-earner families are widespread in contemporary Europe, yet the division of housework is highly gendered, with women still bearing the lion’s share. However, women in dual-career couples and in other types of non-traditional couples, across and within different European countries, appear to handle the division of housework differently. Objective: The objective of this study is to examine the division of housework among various couple-earner types, by determining i) whether relative resources, time spent on paid work, gender attitudes, and family structure reduce variations in housework between different couple types, and ii) whether the division of housework varies between countries with different work/family policies and gender norms. Methods: The study uses data from ten countries, representing different welfare regime types, extracted from the European Social Survey (2010/11), and employs multivariate regressions and aggregated analysis of the association between the division of housework and the contextual indices. Results: The results show that dual-career couples divide housework more equally than dual-earner couples, relating more to the fact that the former group of women do less housework in general, rather than that men are doing more. The cross-national analysis shows tangible differences between dual-earner and dual-career couples; however, the difference is less marked with respect to the division of housework in countries with more institutional support for work/family reconciliation and less traditional gender norms. Contribution: By combining conventional economic and gender-based approaches with an institutional framework, this study contributes to the research field by showing that the division of housework within different couple-earner types is contextually embedded.

Posted November 29 2016 – Read more

Demographics of Same-Sex Couples in Spain /
Demografía de las parejas homosexuales en España

Cortina, Clara
Revista Española de Investigaciones Sociológicas (2016). 153: 3-22

This article contributes to the study of same-sex couples in Spain. With the current increased recognition of rights, there are major research gaps in the area of same-sex demographic behavior (nuptiality and fertility). By using (and validating) data from the 2011 Spanish Population Census, we have been able to offer a general profi le of sociodemographic characteristics of same-sex married and cohabiting couples. The results suggest the clearly heterogamic composition of those couples, a smaller presence of children in their households and the prevalence of the dual earner couple model. It has also been found that same-sex couples are less likely than opposite-sex couples to get married.

Posted November 25 2016 – Read more

Psychological complaints among children in joint physical custody
and other family types: Considering parental factors

Fransson, Emma; Turunen, Jani; Hjern, Anders; Östberg, Viveca and Bergström, Malin
Scandinavian Journal of Public Health (2016). 44 (2): 177-183

Aims: Increasing proportions of Scandinavian children and children in other Western countries live in joint physical custody, moving between parents’ homes when parents live apart. Children and parents in non-intact families are at risk of worse mental health. The potential influence of parental ill-health on child well-being in the context of differing living arrangements has not been studied thoroughly. This study investigates the psychological complaints of children in joint physical custody in comparison to children in sole parental care and nuclear families, while controlling for socioeconomic differences and parental ill-health. Methods: Data were obtained from Statistics Sweden’s yearly Survey of Living Conditions 2007–2011 and child supplements with children 10–18 years, living in households of adult participants. Children in joint physical custody (n=391) were compared with children in sole parental care (n=654) and children in nuclear families (n=3,639), using a scale of psychological complaints as the outcome measure. Results: Multiple regression modelling showed that children in joint physical custody did not report higher levels of psychological complaints than those in nuclear families, while children in sole parental care reported elevated levels of complaints compared with those in joint physical custody. Adding socioeconomic variables and parental ill-health only marginally attenuated the coefficients for the living arrangement groups. Low parental education and parental worry/anxiety were however associated with higher levels of psychological complaints. Conclusions: Psychological complaints were lower among adolescents in joint physical custody than in adolescents in sole parental care. The difference was not explained by parental ill-health or socioeconomic variables.

Posted November 3 2016 – Read more

Genome-wide analysis identifies 12 loci influencing human reproductive behavior

Barban, Nicola et al. and Mills, Melinda C.
Nature Genetics (2016). Published online first. DOI: 10.1038/ng.3698

The genetic architecture of human reproductive behavior—age at first birth (AFB) and number of children ever born (NEB)—has a strong relationship with fitness, human development, infertility and risk of neuropsychiatric disorders. However, very few genetic loci have been identified, and the underlying mechanisms of AFB and NEB are poorly understood. We report a large genome-wide association study of both sexes including 251,151 individuals for AFB and 343,072 individuals for NEB. We identified 12 independent loci that are significantly associated with AFB and/or NEB in a SNP-based genome-wide association study and 4 additional loci associated in a gene-based effort. These loci harbor genes that are likely to have a role, either directly or by affecting non-local gene expression, in human reproduction and infertility, thereby increasing understanding of these complex traits.

Posted November 2 2016 – Read more

Parental and child time investments and the cognitive development of adolescents

Del Boca, Daniela; Monfardini, Chiara and Nicoletti, Cheti
Journal of Labor Economics (2017). Published online first.

While a large literature has focused on the impact of parental investments on child cognitive development, very little is known about the role of child’s own investments alongside that of the parents. By using the Child Development Supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we model the cognitive production function for adolescents using an augmented value-added model and adopt an estimation method that takes account of unobserved child characteristics. We find that a child’s own investments made during adolescence matter more than the mother’s. Our empirical results appear to be robust to several sensitivity checks.

Posted October 11 2016 – Read more

Early Childcare, Maternal Education and Family Origins:
Differences in Cognitive and Linguistic Outcomes throughout Childhood

Bulgarelli, Daniela and Molina, Paola
Revista de Cercetare si Interventie Sociala (2016), 52: 5-25

Centre-based care in early childhood has been associated with better scores on linguistic and cognitive tests at later times. Nevertheless, there is no consensus about the stability of these effects across the preschool and primary school stages. Furthermore, no data about the effects of early care have been reported from the Italian context. Our study analysed the effects of early childcare, maternal education and parental origin (native versus foreign) on the cognitive and linguistic outcomes of pre-schoolers and pupils. The sample comprised 175 three- to tenyear- old children, from a large Northern Italian city. Children’s non-verbal cognitive functioning and receptive language were assessed. Parents provided information about their own birthplace and level of education and about their child’s birthplace and type of childcare received from 0 to 2 years. Analysis of the single effects of type of care, maternal education and parental origin on children’s outcomes, showed differences only due to maternal education. When the interactions among these variables were explored, centre-based care appeared to play a protective role with respect to maternal education: differences due to maternal education were evident in children who had been in home-based care, but not in children who had been in centre-based care. Besides, home-based care appeared to play a protective role with respect to parental origin: children with two foreign parents displayed more advanced linguistic knowledge if they had spent their early years in the home. The importance of educational intervention and training for professionals to better support children’s development will be discussed.

Posted October 10 2016 – Read more

Pathways to Childlessness among Women and Men:
Is the Romanian Case Unique or Common in the Eastern Part of Europe?

Faludi, Cristina
Romanian Journal for Population Studies (2016), 10 (1): 133-156

This paper investigates the determinants of childlessness among men and women from Bulgaria, Romania and Russia, using data on a sub-sample of 30- 49 years old respondents from the first wave of Generations and Gender Survey (2004-2005). For each country, two models of logistic regression were conducted to contrast childless men and women with fathers and mothers. Covariates comprising background and work related characteristics, early life course variables, attitudes and values were used in the regression models. The outcomes of the multivariate analysis revealed a set of similarities, both from the gender and country perspective as well. Childless women and men from all three countries have younger ages and acquired a higher level of education compared with mothers and fathers. In the same time, childless people originated from families with a unique child, and claimed secularized attitudes and values. However, other covariates point at different roads leading to childlessness in the three Eastern European countries. In Romania, women who grew up in urban areas, hired in top jobs positions and who attended more often religious services are more likely to remain childless than women from villages, holding blue collar jobs or being unemployed, and who are less religious. Instead, men with lower levels of education and less prestigious jobs were more likely to remain childless, compared with men with a university degree and with a top job position. In Bulgaria, men whose mother is more educated and women whose father held a better job have a higher propensity to remain childless. In Russia, childlessness is more prevalent among less successful men, with a lower level of education and with an unemployment status. Beyond the similarities in the road to childlessness between gender and countries, in Romania, the effect of significant factors on childlessness is more accentuated for women than for men. Also, it seems the diffusion of childlessness in Romania is related to more privileged women and less successful men. Bulgarian and Russian results are more nuanced by gender.

Posted October 6 2016 – Read more

Is the Family System in Romania Similar to those of Southern European Countries?

Castiglioni, Maria; Hărăguș, Mihaela; Faludi, Cristina and Hărăguș, Paul-Teodor
Comparative Population Studies (2016), 41 (1): 57-86

In his influential 1998 study, David S. Reher discusses historical differences between countries with strong and weak family ties. He focuses on the “Western World”, comparing Italy and the Iberian Peninsula with Scandinavia, the British Isles, the Low Countries, Germany and Austria, together with North America. In this paper, we explore whether Romania, in Eastern Europe, can be characterised as having a strong family system, given the increasingly important role family has played for individual well-being following the end of the socialist regime. We observe a number of similarities between Romania and Southern European countries in terms of behaviours associated with “strong family ties”, opinions on family care and mutual intergenerational support. Differences can be explained in light of Romania’s economic and housing crisis. Overall, it is likely that the importance of family ties in Romania increased after the end of the socialist regime.

Posted October 6 2016 – Read more

Understanding Heterogeneity in the Effects of Parental Separation
on Educational Achievement in Britain:
Do Children from Lower Educational Backgrounds Have Less to Lose?

Bernardi, Fabrizio and Boertien, Diederik
European Sociological Review (2016). Published online first. DOI: 10.1093/esr/jcw036.

We use the British Cohort Study 1970 to show that the proportion of children achieving a tertiary education degree is 8 percentage points lower for the offspring of separated parents than for children from intact families. Moreover, the children of highly educated parents experience a two times larger ‘separation penalty’ than the children of less educated parents. We find a similar pattern of heterogeneity in effects for the likelihood of participation in academic education (A-Levels) beyond school leaving age but not for school grades at age 16. We test three different explanations for heterogeneity in the parental separation penalty: changes in family relations, changes in income, and negative selection into separation based on unobserved characteristics. We address the potential endogeneity of parental separation by including pre-separation observable characteristics, individual fixed effects models, and a placebo test. Our key finding is that changes in family income, but not those in family relations or selection, explain a large part of heterogeneity in the effects of parental separation. Children with more highly educated parents face a larger decline in family income if parents separate and, in addition, declines in family income of equal amounts entail more negative consequences for their educational attainment.

Posted October 6 2016 – Read more

Non-intact Families and Diverging Educational Destinies:
A Decomposition Analysis for Germany, Italy,
the United Kingdom and the United States

Bernardi, Fabrizio and Boertien, Diederik
Social Science Research (2016). Published online first. DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2016.09.004.

We examine whether the presence of non-intact families in society is related to increased inequality in educational attainment according to social background, as suggested by the ‘diverging destinies’ thesis. We analyze four countries, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, that differ in the prevalence of non-intact families and in the strength of the negative association between growing up in a non-intact family and children’s educational attainment. We use a Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition approach to calculate a ‘counterfactual’ estimate of differences in educational attainment between socioeconomically advantaged and disadvantaged children in the hypothetical absence of non-intact families. Contrary to the diverging destinies thesis, we find little differences between actual and ‘counterfactual’ levels of inequality in educational attainment in all four countries. Whereas growing-up in a non-intact family affects the individual chances of educational attainment, the overall contribution of non-intact families to aggregate levels of social background inequality appears minimal.

Posted October 6 2016 – Read more

Main Breadwinner Women in Hungary and Their
Work-family Balance Related Coping Strategies

Neményi, Mária and Takács, Judit
Intersections. East European Journal of Society and Politics (2016), 2 (3): 97-117.

In this study, being the first Hungarian qualitative study devoted to this subject, we focus on the work-life balance situation of Hungarian women acting as main breadwinners within their family. The empirical base of our study consisted of 22 in-depth interviews conducted with Hungarian mothers of dependent children younger than 14, living in (heterosexual) couple households, who bring in at least 60% of the total household earnings. We examined how the main breadwinner role might affect the gender norm expectations acquired during socialisation, the division of domestic labour and child care duties between the partners, as well as the internal power relations of the couple.
According to our findings, various versions of work-life balance management could be identified even within our small-scale qualitative sample on the basis of two main dimensions.
On the one hand, on the basis of our interviewees’ accounts we examined whether the partners had similar role expectations in terms of egalitarian sharing of family related tasks or traditionally gendered role specialisation. On the other hand, we have also considered to what extent other contextual factors contributed to women becoming primary breadwinners, and whether these were perceived in terms of external constraints or preferred choices (or both). On the basis of our analyses we have identified four models of family relations in the context of primary female breadwinning: the traditional, the egalitarian, the externally forced role reversal and the consciously implemented role reversal models.

Posted October 6 2016 – Read more

Residential care and care to community-dwelling parents:
out-selection, in-selection and diffusion of responsibility

Van den Broek, Thijs and Dykstra, Pearl A.
Ageing and Society (2016). Published online first. DOI: 10.1017/S0144686X16000519

Research suggests that adult children are less likely to provide care to community-dwelling parents when beds in residential care settings are more widely available. The underlying mechanisms are not well understood. Drawing on data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) on 1,214 impaired parent–child dyads from 12 countries, we find that adult children are less likely to provide care in countries where beds in residential care settings are more widely available because (a) parents’ care needs are less severe in such countries (out-selection hypothesis) and (b) adult children and impaired parents are less likely to share a household in such countries (in-selection hypothesis). Finally (c), after taking these two factors into account, adult children remain less likely to provide care in countries where beds in residential care settings are more widely available (diffusion of responsibility hypothesis). Plausibly, being able to rely on residential care undermines adult children’s sense of urgency to step in and provide care to their parents.

Posted August 11 2016 – Read more

Preschool education as the great equalizer? A cross-country study
into the sources of inequality in reading competence

Cebolla-Boado, Héctor; Radl, Jonas and Salazar, Leire
Acta Sociologica (2016). Published online first. DOI: 10.1177/0001699316654529

In this study we examine the extent to which preschool education can reduce social background differentials in learning outcomes across countries; our focus is on whether the benefits of preschool attendance for children depend on other family inputs such as parents’ education and their pedagogical involvement during early childhood. We use the 2011 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, which provides a standardized measure of reading literacy among students in 4th grade. Our sample contains data on 119,008 individuals from 28 developed countries. The presented evidence confirms that preschool is visibly beneficial in most cases, but also that benefits are lower for children who have more involved or more educated parents. Rather than complements to, parental involvement and parental education seem to be substitutes for preschool attendance in children’s skill production function. As such, preschool education reduces social inequalities in educational achievement. Yet, its equalizing potential could have been overstated in previous debates.

Posted August 1 2016 – Read more

Introduction to research on immigrant and ethnic minority families in Europe

Kulu, Hill and Hannemann, Tina
Demographic Research (2016), Volume 35, Article 2: 31-46

Background: This article provides an introduction to the special collection of papers on partnership dynamics
among immigrants and their descendants in five selected European countries: Sweden, France,
the UK, Spain, and Estonia.
Results: The analysis shows a significant variation in partnership patterns among immigrants in all five
countries. Immigrants from countries with more ‘conservative’ family patterns (e.g., those from
Turkey, South Asia, and the Maghreb region) have high marriage rates, low (premarital)
cohabitation levels, and are less likely to separate. By contrast, more ‘fluid’ family formation
patterns dominate among some non-European immigrant groups (e.g., Caribbeans, Sub-Saharan
Africans, and Latin Americans).
Conclusions: The significant diversity of partnership patterns within countries across immigrant groups supports
the idea that socialisation factors play an important role in their partnership behaviour. The
partnership patterns of immigrants’ descendants are ‘in-between’. These findings support the idea
that both the minority subculture and the mainstream society have an effect on the behaviour of
ethnic groups; however, the role of minority subculture seems to be larger than expected among
some groups (e.g., individuals of Turkish, South Asian, Slavic, and Maghrebian origin).
Contribution: All five studies report a significant diversity in partnership patterns across ethnic groups and
suggest that the diversity in family forms will persist in the future. We argue that future research
should investigate family patterns among the ‘third generation’, examine the links between
economic and cultural integration of ethnic minorities, and exploit various novel techniques to
analyse the dynamic nature of individuals’ lives.

Posted August 1 2016 – Read more

Partnership formation and dissolution among immigrants in the Spanish context

Gonzalez-Ferrer, Amparo; Hannemann, Tina and Castro-Martín, Teresa
Demographic Research (2016), Volume 35, Article 1: 1-30

Background: The diversification of partnership patterns away from the traditional marriage standard emerged in Spain relatively late. This makes Spain an interesting case for the study of the partnership dynamics of natives and immigrant groups.
Objective: This paper analyzes partnership formation and dissolution among immigrant women of various origins, in comparison to natives in Spain. The study aims to identify variations in timing and incidence of partnership transitions.
Methods: Data from the Fertility and Values Survey 2006 is used to conduct discrete-time logistic regressions for several union transitions. In a further step, the data are analyzed including cohort interactions to explore the extent to which differences are due to the younger profile of the migrant population.
Results: The obtained results lend support to the selection and disruption hypotheses in the case of immigrant women who arrived in Spain before their first union formation. However, when explaining the high propensity of Latin American and EU-15 women to enter cohabiting unions, socialization effects cannot be ruled out. Immigrant women also show higher risk of union dissolution than natives.
Conclusions: Immigrant women differ consistently from native Spanish women across the various partnership transitions. They generally display higher risks of forming a union, particularly a cohabiting union, and of separating from their first partner. Models including interactions between birth cohort and migrant status showed that differentials between immigrants and natives are not due to compositional effects.

Posted July 8 2016 – Read more

When rationing plays a role: Selection criteria in the Italian early childcare system

Del Boca, Daniela; Pronzato, Chiara and Sorrenti, Giuseppe
CESifo Economic Studies (2016). Published online first.

Abstract: Our study explores the impact of selection criteria on the costs and benefits of early childcare for mothers’ employment, child development, and municipalities’ revenues by exploiting the selection criteria of different Italian municipalities in assigning childcare slots. In Italy, only around 13% of the demand for public childcare coverage is met, and the number of applications exceeds the number of places in childcare services in all regions. In conditions of excess demand, municipalities introduce selection criteria to give priority to families for whom access to public childcare appears to be more valuable. We analyse through simulations the consequences of introducing different selection criteria, using a representative Italian sample of households with children under 3 years of age (European Survey on Living and Income Conditions), and the selection criteria employed by six representative Italian municipalities. Our results have interesting policy implications. The benefits for child outcomes and mothers’ employment are stronger in municipalities where the selection criteria give priority to more disadvantaged households. However, in these contexts, selected households are less able to contribute to the financial sustainability of the service.

Posted July 8 2016 – Read more

Education capability: A focus on gender and science

Addabbo, Tindara; Di Tommaso, Maria Laura and Maccagnan, Anna
Social Indicators Research (2015). Published online first

Abstract: The focus of the paper is on the measurement of science education capability with a gender perspective and in the capability approach framework. Measuring science education capability implies going beyond the measurement of children test scores. In the capability approach, we aim at the real opportunities that children can develop later in life and therefore it is important to include some measures of non-cognitive skills. We utilize, therefore, different indicators in addition to test scores in science: enjoyment in science, interest in science, general and personal values of science, self-confidence in performing science related tasks, awareness and perception of environmental issues, and responsibility for sustainable development. We utilize the 2006 PISA survey for Italian 15 years old children because it contains a particular focus on science and we estimate a Structural Equation Model to take into account that capabilities are latent constructs of which we only observe some indicators. We also investigate the determinants of children’s science education capability in Italy taking into account household, individual and school factors. Results confirm that boys outperform girls in science education capability. Our theoretical construct for the science education capability confirms that all the indicators are relevant to measure this capability. School activities to promote sciences improve girls’ capability and interactive methods of teaching improve both girls and boys capability. The household educational resources and the household educational possession are also positively correlated with girls’ and boys’ science education capability.

Posted July 8 2016 – Read more

Parental supervision and adolescent risky behaviors

See, Sarah Grace
Review of Economics of the Household (2016), 14 (1): 185-206

Abstract: This paper re-examines the relationship between parental supervision and adolescents’ engagement in risky behaviors. Using the Child Development Supplement and Transition to Adulthood of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, I consider different measures of supervision among a sample of adolescents 10–21 years old. Issues relating to endogeneity bias and unobserved heterogeneity are accounted for using lagged amounts of supervision and fixed effects as an estimation strategy. The results highlight the role of fathers in mitigating cigarette smoking in the past month, regular alcohol consumption in the past year, and marijuana smoking in the past month. The research emphasizes the need to account for unobserved heterogeneity and supports the idea of looking at the different roles of each parent in affecting child outcomes.

Posted July 8 2016 – Read more

Does child care availability play a role in maternal employment
and children’s development? Evidence from Italy

Brilli, Ylenia; Del Boca, Daniela and Pronzato, Chiara D.
Review of Economics of the Household (2016), 14 (1): 27-51

Abstract: This paper investigates the effects of public child care availability in Italy in mothers’ working status and children’s scholastic achievements. We use a newly available dataset containing individual standardized test scores of pupils attending the second grade of primary school in 2009–2010 in conjunction with data on public child care availability. Our estimates indicate a positive and significant effects of child care availability on both mothers’ working status and children’s Language test scores. We find that a percentage change in public child care coverage increases mothers’ probability to work by 1.3 percentage points and children’s Language test scores by 0.85 percent of one standard deviation; we do not find any effect on Math test scores. Moreover, the impact of a percentage change in public child care on mothers’ employment and children’s Language test scores is greater in provinces where child care availability is more limited.

Posted July 8 2016 – Read more

Child care, maternal employment, and children’s
school outcomes. An analysis of Italian data

Del Boca, Daniela; Pasqua, Silvia and Suardi, Simona
European Journal of Population (2016), 32 (2): 211-229

Abstract: In this paper we analyse the impact of mothers’ employment status and formal child care attendance during early childhood on children’s school grades later in life, controlling for socio-demographic factors. We use the year 2008 of the Italian ISFOL-PLUS dataset. The dataset provides information on each respondent’s demographic characteristics, as well as a set of retrospective information on the individual’s school grades at the end of junior high school, high school, and university, along with (in the 2008 wave only) information about the respondent’s formal child care attendance and mother’s employment status when he or she was under age of three. We estimate the effects of maternal employment and child care attendance on the probability that the respondent would have high grades at the end of high school. Since maternal employment and child care attendance are likely to be endogenously determined, we use an instrumental variable approach. Our empirical results show that while having a mother who was working (during early childhood) had no significant effect on an individual’s high school grades, child care attendance had a positive and significant effect. These results have potential policy implications. As maternal employment does not seem to negatively affect the development process of children, while child care attendance appears to have a positive impact on academic achievement, policy makers should consider expanding the availability of child care and promoting women’s participation in the labour market.

Posted June 2 2016 – Read more

The role of attitudes towards maternal employment
in the relationship between job quality and fertility intentions

Hanappi, Doris; Ryser, Valérie-Anne and Bernardi, Laura
Journal of Research in Gender Studies (2016), 6 (1): 192-219

Abstract: Where changes in fertility timing and sequencing do not suffice in explaining low fertility, scholars typically turn to socioeconomic determinants of fertility intentions like income, employment status, or work hours. Yet, few studies have focused on the importance of job quality and its relation to gender role attitudes. We examine in what way perceived job quality in terms of job stability and prestige are associated with the intention to have a child for men and women in the low fertility context Switzerland, whether job quality matters equally for first and subsequent child intentions, and whether a gender-unequal attitude changes the effects of job quality on the childbearing intentions of men and women. Using data from the Swiss Household Panel (waves 2002–2011), we estimate separate logit models of the fertility intentions of men and women without children and those with at least one child. We find that perceived job instability negatively affects the intention of having a first child for women but not for men. Our analyses suggest that the relation between perceived job quality and fertility intention is partially mediated by gender attitudes in so far as they modify the salience of job quality for men and women.

Posted May 4 2016 – Read more

Aging without children

Ivanova, Katya and Dykstra, Pearl
Public Policy & Aging Report (2015), 25 (3): 98-101

Abstract: This issue of Public Policy and Aging Report brings into focus the fact that the “graying” of Western countries is playing out at the backdrop of fundamental rethinking and restructuring of the institution of “the” family. These changes are happening at a time when even countries with a long-standing tradition of generous state-funded social support systems are beginning to shift at least some care obligations away from the state in pursuit of a society based on the principle of individual responsibility (e.g., the Netherlands). The implicit assumption underlying this shift is that family members (and adult children in particular) will step in as needs for care and support arise. However, what does this mean for those individuals who, by choice or involuntarily, do not have children in old age?

Posted April 28 2016 – Read more

Norms of filial obligation and actual support to parents in Central and Eastern Europe

Mureşan, Cornelia and Hărăguş, Paul-Teodor
Romanian Journal of Population Studies (2015), IX (2): 49-81

Abstract: Country differences in intergenerational relationships are not only attributable to economic, policy, housing contexts but also to a cultural tendency towards closer intergenerational ties. This study is a cross-national comparison regarding the relationship between norms of filial obligation and actual giving of financial support and care in several Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries as compared to Western Europe. We examine to what extent norms of filial obligation are consistent with helping behaviour, whether the responsiveness to norms varies by country context, and whether CEE countries differ from societies benefiting of more generous public support to ageing people. The data used in this study come from the Generation and Gender Programme. We show that actual support to parents is not more prevalent in CEE than in Western European (WE) countries, even if norms of filial obligations are more strongly expressed. On the contrary, emotional support has a higher prevalence in WE. However, the connection between filial responsibility and instrumental care is stronger in CEE, while the connection between financial help and norms of filial obligation is stronger in WE. In CEE countries contrasting mechanisms may play: in some countries people have no choice but to assist parents in need financially, but in others they do not provide such help as they do not consider financial support being part of their filial obligations. Interestingly, we did not find any connection between filial responsibility and emotional support to parents, neither in East nor in West European countries.

Posted April 26 2016 – Read more

Dynamics of mixed unions in Transylvania, Romania

Hărăguş, Mihaela
Romanian Journal of Population Studies (2015), IX (2):103-122

Abstract: In this work, mixed union formation and dissolution of Hungarian ethnics in Transylvania have been investigated, with the aim of finding which characteristics of individuals were connected with the tendency towards exogamy, and whether inter-ethnic unions are more fragile than endogamous ones. The analysis showed that the language of studies makes a clear difference between endogamous and exogamous union formation: persons that had studied at least one educational level in Romanian language had visible higher risks to form an inter-ethnic union, both marriage and cohabitation. In case of marriage dissolution, higher divorce risks for exogamous than for endogamous marriages have been found, and in case of formation of a second union, the results showed that persons who had a first exogamous union exhibit twice the risk of entering a second exogamous union compared with persons that had a first endogamous union.

Posted April 26 2016 – Read more

Parenting as mediator between
post-divorce family structure and children’s well-being

Bastaits, Kim and Mortelmans, Dimitri
Journal of Child and Family Studies (2016). Published online first. DOI: 10.1007/s10826-016-0395-8

Abstract: Divorce and its subsequent transitions can be stressful for children and therefore, affect their well-being in a negative manner. Effective parenting (with high support and high control) can, however, function as a protective factor. While previous studies have indicated that effective parenting does indeed improve children’s well-being after divorce, these studies tended to concentrate on maternal family structures and transitions as well as maternal parenting. With this study, we investigate the mediating role of both maternal and paternal parenting between various family structures after divorce (including the custodial arrangement as well as the repartnering of both parents) and children’s well-being. Therefore, we analyzed 618 parent–child dyads from the multi-actor dataset “Divorce in Flanders—DiF” using a mediated structural equation model. Results revealed that both maternal and paternal parenting can mediate between family structure after divorce and children’s well-being. Depending on the type of post divorce family constellation, parenting can be considered as a risk or a protective factor, for both maternal and paternal parenting.

Posted March 15 2016 – Read more

Reliability of union histories in social science surveys:
Blurred memory, deliberate misreporting, or true tales?

Kreyenfeld, Michaela and Bastin, Sonja
Advances in Life Course Research (2016), 27: 30-42

Abstract: This paper examines the reliability of biographical information gathered retrospectively. It draws on data from the German Family Panel (pairfam), which collected information on the partnership status at first birth using two different strategies. The first strategy was to collect partnership and fertility histories separately in an event history calendar. The second strategy was to ask the respondents directly about their partnership status at first childbirth. We find that in almost 20 percent of the cases, the information collected using the two different strategies did not correspond. The dissolution of a partnership and having a complex partnership biography are strong predictors for discrepancies in the information gathered through the two different strategies. We conclude by discussing the factors that lead to the different outcomes produced by each of the two methods, and the implications of these discrepancies for the study of partnership and fertility behavior in general.

Posted March 15 2016 – Read more

Social attitudes toward adoption by same-sex couples in Europe

Takács, Judit; Szalma, Ivett and Bartus, Tamás
Archives of Sexual Behavior (2016). Published online first. DOI: 10.1007/s10508-016-0691-9

Abstract: By examining social attitudes on same-sex adoption in 28 European countries, we highlighted individual and country-level factors that can determine the level of social acceptance or rejection of this specific kind of adoption. This article contributes to the literature on social acceptance of lesbian women, gay men, and their adoption practices in Europe and directs attention to several previously under-researched aspects of social attitudes on same-sex parenting rights. The empirical base of this study was the fourth round of the European Values Study, conducted in 2008–2010. Using ordered logistic regressions, we examined the impact of several individual and country-level characteristics on the agreement level with the statement that “Homosexual couples should be able to adopt children.” We found strong relationships between social attitudes towards adoption by same-sex couples and the existence of legislation permitting same-sex adoption practices at the country-level, as well as some individual attitudes, including those related to traditional family formation practices, “justification of homosexuality,” and (non-) preference for homosexual neighbors. Our findings indicate a shift within the potential interpretational contexts of adoption by same-sex couples from a narrow sexuality-based framework to a different and possibly much wider context of family and parenting practices.

Posted March 1 2016 – Read more

Contextualizing the education effect on women’s employment:
A cross-national comparative analysis

Steiber, Nadia; Berghammer, Caroline and Haas, Barbara
Journal of Marriage and Family (2016),
78(1): 246-261

Abstract: The authors examine how and why the effect of education on women’s employment varies cross-nationally. First, they present a theoretical model that (a) outlines the micro-level mechanisms underlying education effects on women’s employment in the couple context and (b) proposes contextual moderators at the country level. Second, they test the theoretical model against survey data from the United Nations’ Generations and Gender Programme for 5 European countries (Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, and Norway). The data comprise 10,048 educationally homogamous heterosexual couples involving a woman age 20–45. The results indicate that more highly educated couples are more likely to have dual-earner arrangements in each country, yet the strength of education effects varied substantially between countries and across the family life cycle. In contrast to prior work, the authors find that education effects are not generally smaller in countries that are supportive of women’s employment. This relation holds only for later child-rearing phases.

Posted January 27 2016 – Read more

The causal effect of the great recession on childlessness of white American women

Comolli, Chiara Ludovica and Bernardi, Fabrizio
IZA Journal of Labor Economics (2015), 4:21

Abstract: Many studies have documented a negative association between macroeconomic indicators and fertility in times of economic crisis. These studies are based on research designs that do not allow for excluding that the observed association is driven by confounders. The aim of the present paper is to estimate the causal effect of the Great Recession on cohorts’ childlessness in the United States. We apply a difference-in-difference approach to the probability of childlessness in two pseudo-cohorts of white women who entered the age of 34–36 years old being childless before the crisis, in 2004, and at the onset of the crisis, in 2007. Our identification strategy relies on the assumption that these two adjacent cohorts of women differ only because the latter cohort lived some critical years of reproductive life during the Great Recession period. We then study how many childless women aged 34–36 had a child when they were 37–39, between the years 2004 and 2007 for the control group and between the years 2007 and 2010 for the treatment group. We argue that an increase of childlessness at the age 37–39 is likely to lead to an increase in permanent childlessness, since major catch-up processes are unlikely after age 40. We replicate the analysis on two datasets: the American Community Survey and the Fertility Supplement of the Current Population Survey. Our findings suggest that the Great Recession has had a positive, though mild, effect on childlessness of white women at about the age of 40 in the US.

Posted January 11 2016 – Read more

Who remains childless? Unrealized fertility plans in Hungary

Ivett, Szalma and Takács, Judit
Sociologický časopis / Czech Sociological Review (2015), 51(6):
1047-1076, DOI: 10.13060/00380288.2015.51.6.228

Abstract: This article focuses on remaining childless as a result of certain choices and constraints (not on becoming childless as a result of outliving children). There are two main aims of this study. First it seeks to reveal whether any specific features appear when (temporarily) childless people are compared with those having children in the same cohorts. It also aims to explore what kinds of factors can lead to childlessness (or more precisely, the prolongation of a childless period in life) among those men and women who, according to their self-assessment, were not prevented from having children by their own or their partner’s health constraints. The analysis draws on GGS data from the first three waves of the Hungarian panel survey ‘Turning Points of the Life Course’ conducted in 2001, 2004, and 2008. The focus is on men and women who were childless in 2001 and were still childless in 2008. According to the findings, events directly connected to childbearing, such as having a stable partner or not having a partner, living in cohabitation or in marriage, have more influence on decisions about becoming parents than normative expectations, while economic factors (such as having a job) have some impact mainly on postponing childbearing, but do not seem to influence directly whether people will remain childless.

Posted January 11 2016 – Read more

Parental constructions of masculinity at the transition to parenthood:
the division of parental leave among Austrian couples

Schmidt, Eva-Maria; Rieder, Irene, Zartler, Ulrike, Schadler, Cornelia and Richter, Rudolf
International Review of Sociology (2015), 25(3):373-386, DOI: 10.1080/03906701.2015.1078532

Abstract: Men and masculinity are considered a key factor in changing gender inequality at the transition to parenthood. Prior research on gendered division of parental leave concentrated on fathers’ perspectives. This paper includes perspectives of fathers and mothers who make use of parental leave in different ways and asks how masculinity is jointly constructed, how these constructions are linked to the use of parental leave, and if and how they are oriented towards hegemonic masculinity. The analysis is based on 44 qualitative interviews with 11 Austrian couples before and after birth when decisions concerning parental leave were made. Our case reconstructions reveal that parents considered parental leave a central element of masculinity as long as it suited fathers’ needs and circumstances permitted. The decisions for sharing parental leave were fathercentred as both partners valued father’s leave higher than mother’s.

Posted December 23 2015 – Read more

Reliability of union histories in social science surveys:
Blurred memory, deliberate misreporting, or true tales?

Kreyenfeld, Michaela and Bastin, Sonja
Advances in Life Course Research (2015), Available online

Abstract: This paper examines the reliability of biographical information gathered retrospectively. It draws on data from the German Family Panel (pairfam), which collected information on the partnership status at first birth using two different strategies. The first strategy was to collect partnership and fertility histories separately in an event history calendar. The second strategy was to ask the respondents directly about their partnership status at first childbirth. We find that in almost 20 percent of the cases, the information collected using the two different strategies did not correspond. The dissolution of a partnership and having a complex partnership biography are strong predictors for discrepancies in the information gathered through the two different strategies. We conclude by discussing the factors that lead to the different outcomes produced by each of the two methods, and the implications of these discrepancies for the study of partnership and fertility behavior in general.

Posted December 16 2015 – Read more

Non-resident parent-child contact after marital dissolution and
parental repartnering: Evidence from Italy

Meggiolaro, Silvia and Ongaro, Fausta
Demographic Research (2015), Volume 33, Article 40: 1137-1152

Abstract: With the diffusion of marital instability, the number of children who spend some of their childhood without one of their parents has become significant, even in Italy. Therefore, given the importance of parent-child interactions for children’s wellbeing, analyzing children’s contact with the non-resident parent has become relevant. In this paper we consider the frequency of contact between children and their non- resident parent after separation, with a double aim: a) to analyze if and how the non- resident parent’s contact with his/her children varies according to whether the (resident or non-resident) parent has repartnered, and b) to investigate whether the relationship between repartnering and contact differs according to the gender of the non-resident parent. The study focuses on children aged 0-17 living with only one biological parent, using data pooled together from two cross-sectional rounds of the Italian survey, Family and Social Subjects. Results show that parents’ repartnering is positively associated with lower non-resident parent-child contact only in the case of non-resident fathers; in the case of a non- resident mother, her repartnering is actually correlated with higher contact.

Posted December 1 2015 – Read more

Psychological complaints among children in joint physical custody
and other family types: Considering parental factors

Fransson, Emma; Turunen, Jani, Hjern, Anders, Östberg, Viveca, and Bergström, Malin
Scandinavian Journal of Public Health (2015), 1-7. DOI: 10.1177/1403494815614463

Abstract: This study investigates the psychological complaints of children in joint physical custody in comparison to children in sole parental care and nuclear families, while controlling for socioeconomic differences and parental ill-health. Data were obtained from Statistics Sweden’s yearly Survey of Living Conditions 2007–2011 and child supplements with children 10–18 years, living in households of adult participants. Children in joint physical custody (n=391) were compared with children in sole parental care (n=654) and children in nuclear families (n=3,639), using a scale of psychological complaints as the outcome measure. The results show that children in joint physical custody did not report higher levels of psychological complaints than those in nuclear families, while children in sole parental care reported elevated levels of complaints compared with those in joint physical custody. Adding socioeconomic variables and parental ill-health only marginally attenuated the coefficients for the living arrangement groups. Low parental education and parental worry/anxiety were however associated with higher levels of psychological complaints.

Posted November 10 2015 – Read more

Persisting differences or adaptation to German fertility patterns?
First and second birth behavior of the 1.5 and
second generation Turkish migrants in Germany

Krapf, Sandra and Wolf, Katharina
Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie (2015), 67(1):137-164

Abstract: In this study, we use data of the German Mikrozensus to explore first and second birth behavior of migrants’ descendants. Whereas prior waves of the Mikrozensus only included respondents’ citizenship, in the survey years 2005 and 2009 also parental citizenship has been surveyed. This allows us to identify respondents’ migrant backgrounds, even if they have German citizenship. We distinguish those who migrated as children (1.5 generation) from those who were born to Turkish parents in Germany (second generation migrants). We compare both migrant generations to German non-migrants. Using discrete-time hazard models, our results show that 1.5 generation migrants have the highest probability of having a first and second birth, while German non-migrants have the lowest birth probabilities. The second generation lies in-between. This pattern also persists after taking the educational attainment of respondents into consideration. However, there seems to be an adaptation of highly educated second generation Turkish migrants to non-migrant Germans: we find no significant differences in the probability of having a first birth in the two groups. For second births, we do not find this pattern which might be related to the young age structure in the sample of second generation migrants.

Posted November 10 2015 – Read more

Care ideals in the Netherlands: Shifts between 2002 and 2011

Van den Broek, Thijs; Dykstra, Pearl A., and Van der Veen, Romke
Canadian Journal on Aging/La Revue canadienne du vieillissement (2015), 34(03):268-281, DOI 10.1017/S0714980815000215

Abstract: Our study’s premise was that normative care beliefs can inform the current care policy debate. We conducted latent class regression analyses on two waves of Netherlands Kinship Panel Study data (n = 4,163) to distinguish care ideals that captured multiple dimensions of normative care beliefs simultaneously. We also assessed how these care ideals have shifted in the early twenty-first century. We distinguished four care ideals: warm-modern (family and state jointly responsible for caring, egalitarian gender roles), cold-modern (large state responsibility, restricted family responsibility, egalitarian gender roles), traditional (restricted state responsibility, large family responsibility, moderately traditional gender roles), and cold-traditional (large state responsibility, restricted family responsibility, traditional gender roles). Between 2002 and 2011, there has been a shift away from warm-modern care ideals and towards cold-modern care ideals. This is remarkable, because Dutch policy makers have increasingly encouraged family members to take on an active role in caring for dependent relatives.

Posted September 30 2015 – Read more


Partnership dynamics across generations of immigration in France:
Structural vs. cultural factors

Pailhé, Ariane
Demographic Research (2015), Volume 33, Article 16:451-498

Abstract: This study analyzes the integration dynamics across generations of immigrants in France by focusing on partnership formation patterns. It addresses how the socialization vs. assimilation hypothesis shapes immigrants and their descendants’ first partnership formation patterns, analyzing the interplay of cultural and structural factors. It compares i) the timing of union formation, ii) the type of first union (cohabitation vs. marriage), and iii) the transition from cohabitation to marriage of first- and second-generation male and female immigrants from the same region of origin with those of the native-born. The results show a convergence towards prevailing French behavior across the generations of immigrants. Second-generation immigrants form their first union later than the first generation. Structural factors such as higher level of education have led to changes in partnership formation patterns over generations of immigrants but the convergence is not complete, and cultural factors have a strong effect, especially for women.

Posted September 14 2015 – Read more


Parental divorce, psychological well-being and educational attainment:
Changed experience, unchanged effect among Swedes born 1892-1991

Gähler, Michael and Palmtag, Eva-Lisa
Social Indicators Research (2015), 123(2):601-623

Abstract: During the last century, the proportion of children and adolescents who have experienced a parental divorce or separation has increased dramatically, in Sweden and elsewhere. Vast research has shown that children in these families fare less well than children in intact families, both in the short and in the long run and on a number of outcomes. Much less is known about whether parental divorce means the same for children and adolescents today as it did a century ago. Have living conditions changed and, if so, how? Moreover, has the association between parental divorce and child well-being changed in magnitude over time? To answer these questions six waves of the Swedish Level of Living Survey were used. We show that living conditions for children of divorce have indeed changed on a number of dimensions but there is no evidence of magnitude change in the association between parental divorce/separation and two child outcomes, psychological well-being and educational attainment.

Posted August 21 2015 – Read more


Marriage and divorce of immigrants and descendants of immigrants in Sweden

Andersson, Gunnar; Obucina, Ognjen, and Scott, Kirk
Demographic Research, (2015), Volume 33, Article 2:31-64

Abstract: Immigrants and their second-generation descendants make up more than a quarter of the current Swedish population. Their nuptiality patterns can be viewed as crucial indicators of their integration into Swedish society. This study provides data on levels of and patterns in marriage formation, divorce, and re-marriage of people in Sweden, by country of origin. The study is based on analyses of longitudinal register data that cover all residents born in 1951 and later who ever lived in Sweden during 1983-2007. We find evidence of variation among immigrant groups and between migrants and Swedish-born people in marriage and divorce patterns. A few groups of migrants have relatively high churning rates in family dynamics, with high levels of marriage formation, divorce, and re-marriage.

Posted August 11 2015 – Read more


Partnership dynamics among migrants and their descendants in Estonia

Rahnu, Leen; Puur, Alan, Sakkeus, Luule, and Klesment, Martin
Demographic Research, (2015), Volume 32, Article 56:1519-1566

Abstract: Extensive scholarly literature documents the decline in marriage and increase in non-marital cohabitation and divorce across regions and countries of Europe, but we know less about the extent to which these new family behaviours that have emerged in host societies are adopted by migrants. The aim of this study is to examine partnership transitions among the migrants and their descendants in Estonia, who mainly originate from the European part of Russia. By investigating an East European context, the study contributes to a more comprehensive account of migrant populations in different socio-economic and cultural settings. The study is based on the Estonian Generations and Gender Survey (2004/2005) and the Estonian Family and Fertility Survey (1994/1997), and employs proportional hazards models. The results show that new family formation patterns, associated with the Second Demographic Transition, are less prevalent among migrants. The results lend support to socialisation, cultural maintenance, and adaptation hypotheses, and underscore the importance of contextual factors. The analysis reveals disruption effects of migration on partnership processes.

Posted August 10 2015 – Read more


Union formation and dissolution among immigrants and
their descendants in the United Kingdom

Hannemann, Tina and Kulu, Hill
Demographic Research, (2015), Volume 33, Article 10:273-312

Abstract: This study investigates union formation and dissolution among immigrants and their descendants in the UK. We use data from the Understanding Society study and apply the techniques of event history analysis. We contrast partnership trajectories of various immigrant groups and compare these with those of the ‘native’ British population. The analysis shows significant differences in partnership formation and dissolution among immigrants and ethnic minorities. Women of Caribbean origin have the highest cohabitation and the lowest marriage rates, whereas cohabitation remains rare among immigrants from South Asia and their descendants, as most of them marry directly. Immigrants from the Caribbean region and their descendants also show higher divorce rates than ‘native’ British women, whereas women of South Asian origin have a low divorce risk.

Posted August 10 2015 – Read more

Markets, regimes, and the role of stakeholders:
Explaining precariousness of migrant domestic/care workers in
different institutional frameworks

Hellgren, Zenia
Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society (2015), online publication, DOI: 10.1093/sp/jxv010

Abstract: Spain and Sweden represent societies with very different welfare, migration, and employment regimes in a European context, but in both countries, female migrant workers in the private domestic/care sectors experience precarious job conditions. The purpose of this article is to explain the situation of migrant workers in these societies through an analysis of both structural components and the position of stakeholders involved in the private care/domestic services sector. Comparing the cases of Spain and Sweden, I argue that different characteristics of regimes and markets—rather paradoxically—produce similar results for the workers. In both countries, there is pressure to keep the wages low. Work hours are often unpredictable and adapted to the clients’ demands. In Spain, these workers fill the “care gap”, representing a comparably affordable solution to the lack of public eldercare. In Sweden, the private domestic services market expanded after the so-called RUT tax subsidy was implemented in 2007. Here, cleaning companies play a key role as middlemen who receive a large share of the cost for these services. Few actors represent the workers, and those who do find themselves restrained by structural factors (as NGOs in Spain) or ambiguous in their support (as the Swedish trade unions). All in all, the female migrant domestic/care workers in Spain and Sweden apparently form part of the development towards a “migrant precariat” in European societies.

Posted June 2 2015 – Read more


Childbearing within marriage and consensual union in Latin America, 1980–2010

Laplante, Benoît; Castro-Martín, Teresa, Cortina, Clara, and Martín-García, Teresa
Population and Development Review (2015), 41(1):85-108, DOI: 10.1111/j.1728-4457.2015.00027.x

Abstract: This article compares the fertility patterns of women in consensual union and marriage in 13 Latin American countries, using census microdata from the four most recent census rounds and a methodological approach that combines the own-children method and Poisson regression. Results show that in all these countries, fertility is slightly higher within consensual union than marriage and that the age pattern of fertility is very similar in marital and non-marital unions. Further analyses show that over the period considered, childbearing within a consensual union has changed from rare to increasingly common, although not yet mainstream, for highly educated women in most countries examined. Results show that in Latin America, at least since the 1980s, women’s childbearing patterns depend on their age and on their being in a conjugal relationship, but not on the legal nature of this relationship. The similarities in reproductive behavior between marital and non-marital unions are not confined to the socially disadvantaged groups, but apply as well to the better off.

Posted May 26 2015 – Read more


When growing up without a parent does not hurt:
Parental separation and the compensatory effect of social origin

Grätz, Michael
European Sociological Review (2015), online publication, DOI: 10.1093/esr/jcv057

Abstract: This article investigates how the negative impact of parental separation on children’s educational outcomes varies with social origin. In particular, I test the compensatory class hypothesis which postulates that higher class families compensate the negative effects of disadvantageous life events, such as parental separation. I apply family-fixed effects models to control for unmeasured confounding characteristics of families and use data on siblings from Germany. I do find indication of substantial negative effects of parental separation on the probability of attending the upper track in secondary school (Gymnasium) and on school grades in German and Mathematics. These negative consequences of parental separation are limited to children with low-educated parents. Children in families with highly educated parents are not negatively affected by their parents’ separation in their educational outcomes. This finding supports the compensatory class hypothesis and demonstrates that research on the consequences of parental separation has to take into account the heterogeneity of separation effects.

Posted May 25 2015 – Read more


Zorgidealen in Nederland: verschuivingen tussen 2002 en 2011
(Care ideals in the Netherlands: Shifts between 2002 and 2011)

Van den Broek, Thijs; Dykstra, Pearl A., and Van der Veen, Romke J.
Mens en maatschappij (2015), 90(1):25-52

Abstract: Our point of departure is that normative care beliefs can inform the current care policy debate. We conduct latent class regression analyses using two waves of Netherlands Kinship Panel Study data (N=4,163) to distinguish care ideals that capture multiple dimensions of normative care beliefs simultaneously. We also assess how these care ideals have shifted in the early 21st century. We distinguish four care ideals: warm-modern (family and state jointly responsible for caring, egalitarian gender roles), cold-modern (large state responsibility, restricted family responsibility, egalitarian gender roles), traditional (restricted state responsibility, large family responsibility, moderately traditional gender roles) and cold-traditional (large state responsibility, restricted family responsibility, traditional gender roles). The probability to adhere to a cold-modern care ideal relative to a warm-modern, traditional or cold-traditional care ideal is higher for men than for women. Between 2002 and 2011 a shift away from warm-modern care ideals and towards cold-modern care ideals has taken place. This is remarkable, because Dutch policy makers have increasingly encouraged family members to take on an active role in caring for dependent relatives.

Posted May 25 2015 – Read more


Compensatory advantage as a mechanism of educational inequality:
A regression discontinuity based on month of birth

Bernardi, Fabrizio
Sociology of Education (2014), 87(2):74-88, DOI: 10.1177/0038040714524258

Abstract: Compensatory advantage is a mechanism of social stratification that complements cumulative advantage and path dependence. In this article, I first discuss the theoretical foundations of the compensatory advantage and path dependence mechanisms and the methodological challenges that complicate identification of their effects. Next, I present a practical demonstration of the use of the compensatory advantage theoretical framework, with a regression discontinuity design estimating the probability of being continuously promoted throughout primary education in France. Results indicate that students born just before the cutoff date for primary school entry, who are consequently the youngest in the class when starting school, face a larger risk of grade repetition. In line with theoretical predictions of the compensatory advantage model, the risk is much smaller for students born to highly educated parents compared to students whose parents have lower educational attainment.

Posted May 25 2015 – Read more


Access for All? Sozialinvestitionen in der frühkindlichen Bildung und
Betreuung im europäischen Vergleich

Naumann, Ingela, K.
Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft (2014), 17(3):113-128 Supplement

Abstract: The importance of investing in early childhood is widely acknowledged in policy circles. Particularly formal Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) is seen as key to creating equal opportunities and combating poverty by increasing educational achievement of children and supporting parental employment. This social investment perspective has in recent decades supported the rapid development and expansion of ECEC in most European countries. However, the international social investment discourse masks fundamental differences in European ECEC systems and detracts attention from the way ECEC is embedded in the wider welfare regime of a country. This paper critically examines the ‘social investment potential’ of ECEC systems by comparing an early social investment country, Sweden, with two ‘late movers’, the UK and Germany. It argues that investing in ECEC is not per se a panacea for social inclusion. To the contrary, if not combined with other, partly ‘traditional’ equality measures both in education and social protection, ECEC investment may have the opposite effect of increasing social inequality.

Posted May 25 2015 – Read more


Does child care availability play a role in maternal employment and
children’s development? Evidence from Italy

Brilli, Ylenia; Del Boca, Daniela, and Pronzato, Chiara D.
Review of Economics of the Household (2013), online publication, DOI: 10.1007/s11150-013-9227-4

Abstract: This paper investigates the effects of public child care availability in Italy in mothers’ working status and children’s scholastic achievements. We use a newly available dataset containing individual standardized test scores of pupils attending the second grade of primary school in 2009–2010 in conjunction with data on public child care availability. Our estimates indicate a positive and significant effects of child care availability on both mothers’ working status and children’s Language test scores. We find that a percentage change in public child care coverage increases mothers’ probability to work by 1.3 percentage points and children’s Language test scores by 0.85 percent of one standard deviation; we do not find any effect on Math test scores. Moreover, the impact of a percentage change in public child care on mothers’ employment and children’s Language test scores is greater in provinces where child care availability is more limited.

Posted May 25 2015 – Read more


Paternity leave implementation in Switzerland:
a challenge to gendered representations and practices of fatherhood?

Valarino, Isabel and Gauthier, Jacques-Antoine
Community, Work & Family (2015), 21, DOI:

Abstract: Transition to parenthood in Switzerland takes place in a particularly gendered institutional context. It is the only European country where men do not have access to any kind of statutory parental or paternity leaves. This study empirically investigates the extent to which institutional change – through paternity leave implementation at the company level – challenges gendered representations and practices of fatherhood. The study draws on a mixed methods case study conducted in a public administration which implemented a one-month paid paternity leave. Using register data about leave recipients (N = 95), we adopt a longitudinal and typological approach of leave uptake patterns by means of sequence and cluster analyses. In-depth interviews conducted with recipient fathers and managers working for the company (n = 30) enable an analysis of the implementation process and the meanings associated with paternity leave and fatherhood. Results show that paternity leave implementation challenged, in a limited way, gendered representations and practices of fatherhood. Fatherhood was made more visible within the company, but workplace characteristics and informal norms influenced fathers’ leave uptake. Overall, motherhood and fatherhood were associated with different and specialized responsibilities. Fathers mainly had a secondary and temporary role with the newborn, while mothers were the central and taken-for-granted parent.

Posted April 27 2015 – Read more


Childlessness Intentions and Ideals in Europe

Miettinen, Anneli and Szalma, Ivett
Finnish Yearbook of Population Research XLIX (2014), pp. 31-55

Abstract: Using data from Eurobarometer Surveys 2001–2011 we examine trends and correlates of childlessness intentions and ideals across Europe over the past decade. We distinguish childlessness as a personal preference (personal ideal number of children is zero) from intended childlessness (intention to have no children) as these reflect somewhat different dimensions of childlessness as a conscious decision. We find that, on average, childlessness as a personal preference is relatively rare in Europe, although in some western European countries a sizeable proportion of young adults express a desire to have no children. Intentional childlessness is slightly more common than ideal childlessness is, since about 11% of currently childless young adults aged 18 to 40 years in Europe intend to have no children. We analyse factors related to childlessness intentions and ideals on the individual and country levels. A weaker individual socioeconomic position influences the intention to remain childless through various channels, such as unemployment or low socioeconomic status. Associations between individual’s social position and ideal childlessness are less clear. Results also indicate that macro-economic conditions do not have a direct impact on intentional childlessness, whereas a higher prevalence of traditional family values in a country is related to a lower likelihood of individuals considering childlessness to be their ideal family form.

Posted April 21 2015 – Read more


Relationship Preferences Among Gay and Lesbian Online Daters:
Individual and Contextual Influences

Potârcă, Gina; Mills, Melinda, and Neberich, Wiebke
Journal of Marriage and Family (2015), 77(2):523-541, DOI: 10.1111/jomf.12177

Abstract: There is currently little knowledge about what gay men and lesbians seek in a romantic relationship. This study extends the literature on gay men and lesbians’ partnership preferences by engaging in the first large-scale empirical study of the long-term dating intentions and monogamy beliefs of gay and lesbian online daters across 53 regions in 8 European countries (N=24,598). Looking at profile and preference information, the authors examined both individual and contextual determinants in a series of multilevel logistic regression analyses. They show that lesbians give more importance to monogamy but show less interest in starting a long-term relationship. The data also reveal the importance of life course aspects such as relationship history and presence of children. Finally, the authors empirically demonstrate that social tolerance and legal recognition of same-sex unions are associated with higher long-term dating intentions and stronger monogamy beliefs.

Posted March 12 2015 – Read more


Non-Standard Work Schedules and Childbearing in the Netherlands:
A Mixed-Method Couple Analysis

Begall, Katia; Mills, Melinda, and Ganzeboom, Harry B. G.
Social Forces (2014), online publication, DOI: 10.1093/sf/sou110

Abstract: This study examined the effect of working at non-standard times on the transition to first and second childbirth. Using quantitative couple data from two waves of the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study (N = 742) and semi-structured qualitative interviews (N = 29), we found a lower probability of having a first child when the female partner was engaged in non-standard schedules, and a higher likelihood of second childbirth for couples where either partner worked in a non-standard schedule. In line with expectations about the institutional and normative context of the Netherlands, we concluded that women adjusted their work schedules to their fertility plans and that couples had a preference for the personal care of their children rather than relying on formal care arrangements. Non-standard schedules served as a means to achieve this.

Posted January 30 2015 – Read more

Household Choices and Child Development

Del Boca, Daniela; Flinn, Christopher; and Wiswall, Matthew
Review of Economic Studies (2014), 81(1):137-185, DOI: 10.1093/restud/rdt026

Abstract: The growth in labour market participation among women with young children has raised concerns about its implications for child cognitive development. We estimate a model of the cognitive development process of children nested within an otherwise standard model of household behaviour. The household makes labour supply decisions and provides time and money inputs into the child quality production process during the development period. Our empirical results indicate that both parents’ time inputs are important for the cognitive development of their children, particularly when the child is young. Money expenditures are less productive in terms of producing child quality. Comparative statics exercises demonstrate that cash transfers to households with children have small impacts on child quality due to the relatively low impact of money investments on child outcomes and the fact that a significant fraction of the transfer is spent on other household consumption and the leisure of the parents.

Posted January 23 2015 –Read more


The reproductive context of cohabitation in comparative perspective:
Contraceptive use in the United States, Spain, and France

Sweeney, Megan; Castro-Martín, Teresa, and Mills, Melinda
Demographic Research (2015), Volume 32, Article 5:147-182

Abstract: Discussions of cohabitation’s place in family formation regimes frequently emphasize comparisons of reproductive behavior among married versus cohabiting couples. Many argue that the rise in cohabitation may have been fueled by availability of highly effective contraception, but that differences in contraceptive use between married and cohabiting couples should diminish as cohabitation becomes more established. We ask whether cohabiting women in the United States, Spain, and France are more likely than married women in these countries to use the most effective contraceptive methods and reversible methods. We also investigate whether the association between union status and contraceptive use has changed since the mid-1990s. Net of differences in age and parity, cohabitors were more likely than married women to use the most effective contraceptives in the mid-1990s’ United States and France, yet notably not in Spain even when cohabitation was relatively uncommon.

Posted January 19 2015 – Read more


Racial Preferences in Online Dating across European Countries

Potârcă, Gina and Mills, Melinda
European Sociological Review, online publication, DOI: 10.1093/esr/jcu093

Abstract: Knowledge about how race governs partner selection has been predominantly studied in the United States, yet it is unclear whether these results can be generalized to nations with different racial and immigration patterns. Using a large-scale sample of online daters in nine European countries, we engage in the first cross-national analysis of race-related partner preferences and examine the link between contextual factors and ethnic selectivity. We show that individuals uniformly prefer to date same-race partners and that there is a hierarchy of preferences both among natives and minority groups. Notable country differences are also found. Europeans living in countries with a large foreign-born population have an increased preference for minority groups. The results have implications for immigrant integration policies and demonstrate that Internet dating allows efficient selection by racial divisions, perpetuating country-specific racial inequalities.

Posted January 19 2015 – Read more


Family contexts and adolescents’ emotional status

Meggiolaro, Silvia and Ongaro, Fausta
Journal of Youth Studies, (2014), 17(10):1306-1329, DOI: 10.1080/13676261.2014.918246

Abstract: Children’s living arrangements have become increasingly diverse and complex in recent decades: a significant proportion of children reside in stepfamilies or in separated one-parent families, even in countries such as Italy, which only recently is undergoing a transition from traditional to less traditional family behaviours. The present study explores whether – given the still relatively traditional family context – adolescents experiencing parental separation/repartnering have substantial lower levels of psychological well-being than those living in more traditional families. Analyses suggest that adolescents living in non-traditional families are not necessarily at higher risks of emotional suffering than others. Only adolescents who live in stepfamilies show a lower level of emotional well-being than those living in two-biological-parent families.


Posted January 8 2015 – Read more


Receiving instrumental support in late
parent-child relationships and parental depression

Djundeva, Maja; Mills, Melinda; Wittek, Rafael and Steverink, Nardi
Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences (2014), DOI: 10.1093/geronb/gbu136

Abstract: This study investigates the role of gender, functional limitations, and social interaction in the association between instrumental support from adult children and parental depression. We apply self-determination theory to hypothesize about the role of physical needs and social resources on parental depression in a European context. A sample of 6,268 parents older than 65 who have nonresident children from the first wave of Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (2004) is analyzed. The result shows that there is a U-shaped pattern between receiving instrumental support and depression that persists across country regimes. For respondents with medium physical limitations, too little or too frequent support from children is associated with higher depression.

Posted December 29 2014 – Read more


Varying association between education and second births in Europe:
Comparative analysis based on the EU-SILC data

Klesment, Martin; Puur, Allan; Rahnu, Leen and Sakkeus Luule
Demographic Research (2014), Volume 31, Article 27:813-860

Abstract: In this study we investigate the association between women‘s and their partners‘ educational attainment and transition to second births comparatively in regions and sub-regions of Europe. The data come from the 2005 and 2011 waves of the EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC). The result shows that the Northern Europe exhibits a positive association between women‘s and their partners‘ education and second childbearing. Western Europe features a positive relationship among partners but demonstrates a U-shaped pattern among women. A negative relationship between women‘s education and second childbearing also prevails in Eastern Europe. Except for in Eastern Europe, the time-squeeze adds to the positive effect of women‘s high education. In Northern Europe it enables highly educated women to wholly catch up with their counterparts with medium and low education as regards the proportion having second births. In Southern Europe, by contrast, the educational gradient turns negative following the consideration of the time-squeeze effect. We conclude that the relationship between educational attainment and second births varies not only by individual country but also by larger geographical area in Europe. Although smaller in scale than among women, the variation also extends to male partners.

Posted October 9 2014 – Read more


Adolescent Educational Outcomes in Blended Families:
Evidence from Swedish Register Data

Turunen, Jani
Journal of Divorce & Remarriage (2014), 55(7):568-589

Abstract: Using Swedish register data, this article examines the association between having experienced the birth of a younger half-sibling and two educational outcome measures among Swedish 9th graders from 1998 to 2007. The data set, with the full population of 9th graders (N = 874,812), enables us to differentiate between adolescents with maternal as well as paternal half-siblings. The results show that adolescents in postseparation families with half-siblings have lower overall grades and are less likely to be eligible for school continuation after 9th grade than those without half-siblings. The results point to interesting gender patterns both by the sex of the child and whether the half-sibling is maternal or paternal.

Posted September 17 2014 – Read more


Mixed marriages in Germany:
A high risk of divorce for immigrant-native couples

Milewski, Nadja; Kulu, Hill
European Journal of Population (2014), 30(1):89–113

Abstract: This study investigates the effect of native/immigrant intermarriage on divorce. Our analysis shows that immigrant couples have a lower risk of divorce than do natives. However, marriages between German-born individuals and immigrants have a higher likelihood of separation than marriages between two German-born individuals or between immigrants from the same country, supporting the exogamy hypothesis. The divorce risk increases with the cultural distance between the partners and when the spouses demonstrate differences in their social backgrounds, also supporting the heterogamy hypothesis and the selectivity hypothesis. We found no support for the adaptation and convergence hypotheses. Divorce levels for mixed marriages are neither similar to the levels of one of the constituent origin groups, nor do they fall between the levels of the two groups; the divorce levels for native/immigrant marriages are higher than those for endogamous marriages.

Posted August 26 2014 – Read more


Family dynamics among immigrants and their descendants in Europe:
current research and opportunities

Kulu, Hill; González-Ferrer, Amparo
European Journal of Population (2014) (advanced online publication).

Abstract: This paper reviews recent research on family dynamics among immigrants and their descendants in Europe. While there is a large body of literature on various aspects of immigrant lives in Europe, research on family dynamics has emerged only in the last decade. Studies based on individual-level longitudinal data and disaggregated measures of partnership and fertility behaviour have significantly advanced our understanding of the factors shaping family patterns among immigrants and their descendants and have contributed to research on immigrant integration. By drawing on recent research, this paper proposes several ways of further developing research on ethnic minority families. We emphasise the need to study family changes among immigrants and their descendants over their life courses, investigate various modes of family behaviour and conduct more truly comparative research to deepen our understanding of how ethnic minorities structure their family lives in different institutional and policy settings.

Posted August 26 2014 – Read more


The long-term consequences of parental divorce for
children’s educational attainment

Bernardi, Fabrizio; Radl, Jonas
Demographic Research (2014), Volume 30, Article 61:1653-1680

Abstract: In this paper we study the long-term consequences of parental divorce in 14 countries. Special attention is paid to the heterogeneity of the consequences of divorce for children’s educational attainment by parental education. Using data drawn from the first wave of the Generations and Gender Survey, the results show that parental divorce is negatively associated with children’s tertiary education attainment. The divorce penalty is larger for children with highly educated parents. This equalizing pattern is accentuated in countries with a comprehensive educational system.

 Posted May 27 2014 – Read more


Grasping the Diversity of Cohabitation:
Fertility Intentions Among Cohabiters Across Europe

Hiekel, Nicole; Castro-Martín, Teresa
Journal of Marriage and Family (2014), 76(3):489-505.

Abstract: The authors examined the association between different meanings of cohabitation and fertility intentions in nine European countries. The authors found that cohabiters who viewed their unions as a prelude to marriage were the most likely to plan to have a child in the near future, both in Western and Eastern European societies. The findings suggest that, although marriage and childbearing are becoming less closely linked life events, they are not disconnected decisions.

Posted May 23 2014 – Read more


Family policies in the context of low fertility and social structure

Fent, Thomas; Aparicio Diaz, Belinda; Prskawetz, Alexia
Demographic Research (2013), Volume 29, Article 37:963-998

Abstract: In this paper we investigate the effectiveness of family policies in the context of the social structure of a population. We use an agent-based model to analyse the impact of policies on individual fertility decisions and on fertility at the aggregate level. This modelling framework allows us to disentangle the direct effect (the alleviation of resource constraints) from the indirect effect (the diffusion of fertility intentions via social ties) of family policies. Our results indicate that family policies have a positive and significant impact on fertility.

Posted November 20 2013 – Read more


How to Measure Homophobia in an International Comparison?

Takács, Judit; Szalma, Ivett
Družboslovne razprave XXIX (2013), 73:11-42

Abstract: How to measure homophobia in internationally comparable ways is a central issue of the present study. Our main goal was to compare attitudes on homophobia in 27 European countries as measured by different variables within two large-scale longitudinal surveys, the European Social Survey and the European Values Study, with both following multistage probabilistic sampling plans, in order to enable a better understanding of the main determinants of homophobic attitudes at the individual as well as country levels.

Posted September 13 2013 – Read more


Fertility in advanced societies: A Review

Balbo, Nicoletta; Billari, Francesco C.; Mills, Melinda
European Journal of Population (2013), 29:1-38

Abstract: This paper provides a review of fertility research in advanced societies, societies in which birth control is the default option. The central aim is to provide a comprehensive review that summarizes how contemporary research has explained ongoing and expected fertility changes across time and space (i.e., cross- and within-country heterogeneity). A secondary aim is to provide an analytical synthesis of the core determinants of fertility, grouping them within the analytical level in which they operate.

Posted June 20 2013 – Read more