Employment Impacts on Entry to Parenthood in Different Family-Policy Regimes

Michael S. Rendall, University of Maryland
Alessandra De Rose, Università di Roma "La Sapienza"
Frauke Kreute, University of Maryland
Lori Reeder, University of Maryland
Marit Ronsen, Statistics Norway
Laurent Toulemon, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

We explore how women and men’s employment interacts with family policy and social norms to produce differences in gender inequalities in the relationship of employment to first birth. Using comparable panel data from the 2000s across six high-income countries, we estimated identical models of individual employment on partnered women’s and men’s entry to first parenthood, and on unpartnered women’s first births. Two countries each were from ‘dual-earner’ (Norway and France), ‘liberal’ (Australia and the United States), and ‘conservative’ (Germany and Switzerland) family-policy regimes. We tested and found support for three hypotheses generated from theory of reproductive polarization, in which family policy is claimed to play a central role in generating or mitigating socio-economic heterogeneity in family formation. Women and men in ‘dual-earner’ regimes, in particular, had higher rates of entry to first parenthood when ‘full-year, full-time’ employed in the previous year. We found substantial variation between ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ regimes.

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Presented in Session 194: Determinants of Birth Timing