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Unemployment and the timing of parenthood: Implications of partnership status and partner’s employment

March 18, 2015 Comments off

Unemployment and the timing of parenthood: Implications of partnership status and partner’s employment
Source: Demographic Research

Background:
In many countries, including the UK, unemployment is associated with earlier entries into motherhood. However, the implications of male unemployment are not straightforward.

Objective:
The paper addresses this issue by investigating transition to first births in relation to unemployment experience as moderated by partnership status. It also examines the effects of both partners‟ employment statuses on transition into parenthood, focusing on the joint labour market status of cohabiting and married couples.

Methods:
The impact of unemployment experience on the timing of parenthood is predicted using discrete time event history analysis. Data from the British Household Panel Study provide complete family and work histories. Unobserved heterogeneity is controlled for.

Results:
Unemployment leads to earlier entries into parenthood for both men and women. However, its impact differs according to the relationship status in which it is experienced. Unemployed men who cohabit and unemployed women who are single have a higher probability of becoming parents. Among married individuals the timing of parenthood is determined largely by the labour market status of the female partner. Irrespective of the male‟s employment status, couples with employed female spouses have a substantially lower probability of becoming parents. Yet among women who are not in employment there is a delaying effect of unemployment compared to being economically inactive.

Conclusions:
Different mechanisms explain the relationship between unemployment and fertility timing for non-married and married individuals. Neoclassical family models seem to determine parenthood timing among married individuals, whereas early parenthood among non-married individuals can be explained by an uncertainty reduction strategy or discouragement from marriage.

Europe-wide fertility trends since the 1990s: Turning the corner from declining first birth rates

March 5, 2015 Comments off

Europe-wide fertility trends since the 1990s: Turning the corner from declining first birth rates
Source: Demographic Research

Background:
In the period 1995-2002 there was a change in trajectory from decline to rise in first birth fertility rates across Europe.

Objective:
A number of previous studies have looked at the demographic causes of the transition. This study evaluates their conclusions by analysing a comprehensive set of indicators for fifteen countries with data in the Human Fertility Database.

Methods:
Comparisons are made between the four years before and after the fertility trough, to discover what changed between these two periods.

Results:
In the period before the trough, peak age-specific fertility rates were falling; these tended to stabilise after the year of minimum fertility. The width of the fertility curve, however, was already widening in the 1990s, and this trend continued. The transition from fall to rise in TFR1 occurred when the increase in the width of the curve more than compensated for any further falls in peak rates; this explanation is valid for countries in both Eastern and Western Europe. The increasing width of the fertility curve was caused by two factors: the decline in young (pre-modal) fertility slowed, whilst the rise in older (post-modal) fertility accelerated. For some countries, a rise in underlying cohort rates also contributed to the rise in period rates. The likelihood of childless women entering motherhood also rose in some but not all countries.

Conclusions:
During the 1990s, women were postponing first births across Europe. A rebound took place for several reasons, with the overarching driver being the strong rise in late fertility.

Comments:
In some countries the steep rise in late fertility had an unexpected and paradoxical effect on postponement rates (defined as the year-on-year increase in mean age at first birth). Recuperation at post-modal ages of postponed first births caused an acceleration in ‘postponement’ rates, as defined by this metric.

Labor force projections up to 2053 for 26 EU countries, by age, sex, and highest level of educational attainment

February 20, 2015 Comments off

Labor force projections up to 2053 for 26 EU countries, by age, sex, and highest level of educational attainment
Source: Demographic Research

Background:
One expected consequence of population aging in Europe is the shrinkage of the labor force. Most existing labor force projections allow only inferences about the size and age structure of the future labor force.

Objective:
In comparison to existing labor force projections, which disaggregate only by age and sex, these projections include information about the highest level of educational attainment (tertiary vs. non-tertiary education), so that an additional level of heterogeneity in labor force participation is considered. This heterogeneity enters the projection methodology through population projection data as well as labor force participation data, since both components are decomposed in the three dimensions of age, sex, and education. Based on data from the European Labor Force Survey (EU LFS), three scenarios were designed to project the economically active population for 26 EU countries up to 2053.

Results:
Adding the educational dimension to labor force projections discloses a significant shift towards tertiary education degrees between 2008 and 2053. This educational upgrading of the European labor force is not driven by developments in a few large countries but can be expected to take place in each of the 26 analyzed countries.

Conclusions:
A better educated but shrinking labor force is likely to be able to alleviate some of the anticipated economic consequences of population aging. The presented projections of education-specific labor supply can serve as inputs into forecasts of economic growth that include educational differentials in labor productivity.

Religion and fertility: The French connection

February 13, 2015 Comments off

Religion and fertility: The French connection
Source: Demographic Research

Background:
France has been among the first countries to become sacularized but has preserved a Catholic identity. Before 2008, French laws made it very difficult to collect data on an individual’s religious affiliation. The dataset “Enquête Mode de Vie des Français” is the first allowing one to collect such data.

Objective:
I investigate the impact that being a Catholic has on fertility in France. I answer two main questions: (i) Do Catholic people have more children than others? (ii) Why is this the case?

Methods:
Fertility is measured by the number of children ever born. I use the dataset “Enquête Mode de Vie des Français” and Zero-Inflated Poisson regression models. Individual religiosity is approximated by the attendance at religious services.

Results:
I first show that practicing Catholics have more children than the rest of the population, while this is not verified for nominal Catholics. I also construct two variables allowing me to detect that particularized ideology mechanisms (Goldscheider 1971) can explain in part why religion has an impact on fertility in my dataset. Nevertheless, I cannot exclude the social interaction hypothesis. The multivariate analysis I provide also validates the main mechanisms of the rational actor model.

Conclusions:
I implement several robustness checks showing that my main results are robust to changing my regression model (ordered probit and linear regressions) and the way religiousness and fertility are measured.

Why do intimate partners live apart? Evidence on LAT relationships across Europe

January 30, 2015 Comments off

Why do intimate partners live apart? Evidence on LAT relationships across Europe
Source: Demographic Research

Background:
Most research asks whether or not cohabitation has come to rival marriage. Little is known about the meaning of living apart together (LAT) relationships, and whether LAT is an alternative to marriage and cohabitation or a dating relationship.

Objective:
We examine across Europe: (1) the prevalence of LAT, (2) the reasons for LAT, and (3) the correlates of (a) LAT relationships vis-à-vis being single, married, or cohabiting, and (b) different types of LAT union.

Methods:
Using Generations and Gender Survey data from ten Western and Eastern European countries, we present descriptive statistics about LATs and estimate multinominal logistic regression models to assess the correlates of being in different types of LAT unions.

Results:
LAT relationships are uncommon, but they are more common in Western than Eastern Europe. Most people in LAT unions intend to live together but are apart for practical reasons. LAT is more common among young people, those enrolled in higher education, people with liberal attitudes, highly educated people, and those who have previously cohabited or been married. Older people and divorced or widowed persons are more likely to choose LAT to maintain independence. Surprisingly, attitudinal and educational differences are more pronounced in Eastern Europe than in Western Europe.

Conclusions:
A tentative conclusion is that LAT is more often a stage in the union formation process than an alternative to marriage and cohabitation. Yet some groups do view LAT as substituting for marriage and cohabitation, and these groups differ between East and West. In Eastern Europe a cultural, highly educated elite seems to be the first to resist traditional marriage norms and embrace LAT (and cohabitation) as alternative living arrangements, whereas this is less the case in Western Europe. In Western Europe, LAT unions are mainly an alternative for persons who have been married before or had children in a prior relationship.

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

January 28, 2015 Comments off

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

Background:
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.

Objective:
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.

Methods:
Using data from the U.S. National Survey of Family Growth, the Spanish Fertility, Family and Values Survey, the French Gender and Generations Survey, and the Fertility and Family Surveys, we first descriptively compare contraceptive use patterns of cohabiting women to those of married women and then estimate regression models to adjust for group differences in key background factors.

Results:
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. The case of Spain thus refutes the assumption that highly effective contraception is a necessary precursor for dramatic growth in cohabitation.

Local determinants of crime: Do military bases matter?

October 14, 2014 Comments off

Local determinants of crime: Do military bases matter? (PDF)
Source: Demographic Research

BACKGROUND
The majority of crime is committed by young men, and young men comprise the majority of the military – base population. The confluence of these two empirical regularities invites a scientific look at the contribution of a military base to criminal activity in its geographic periphery.

OBJECTIVE
We estimate the impact on criminal activity of the massive base realignments and closures that occurred in Germany for the period 2003 – 2007. In particular, we examine breaking and entering, automobile – related crime, violent crime, and drug – related crime.

METHODS
We use a fixed – effect model to account for time – invariant unobservable elements in a panel of 298 military bases. We also take advantage of geographic information system software to mitigate issues arising from the spatial nature of the dataset.

RESULTS
The estimates indicate that the base realignments and closures did not have a significant impact on criminal activity surrounding base s . Traditional correlates of crime remain statistically significant in our specifications.

CONCLUSIONS
Although crime is largely committed by young men, we find that the closure of military bases, which are staffed primarily by young men, does not have an impact on criminal activity. For matters of regional policy, we find that arguments pertaining to criminal activity generated by milit ary bases are not supported by data

COMMENTS
Economic wellbeing, as measured by real GNP and relative disposable income, is negatively associated with crime. Higher unemployment has a positive association. Regions with higher percentage of foreigners also have higher levels of crime.

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