Abstracts - Lifecourse strand

Strand organiser: Professor Jane Falkingham, ESRC Centre for Population Change, University of Southampton

Abstracts are listed in the order scheduled for presentation. Please refer to the programme for timings.

When their paths diverge: mechanisms behind male and female family differences in France
Eva Beaujouan, Vienna Institute of Demography, Austrian Academy of Science

This paper poses a conceptual framework that once applied to various European countries, will improve our ability to better evaluate the extent and origin of family differences between men and women. It aims to study how these differences emerge gradually from divergent behaviours in the various family transitions. I select the case of France and using three recent datasets study (1) What creates the difference between male and female family arrangements at various ages; and (2) How far are men and women family trajectories asymmetric, disentangling the part played by partner\'s selection. While age at first partnership acts in early life-arrangements, it appears that separation and what follows exert a key differentiation between the trajectories of the two sexes and their situations in mid-life. The asymmetry between men and women\'s trajectories mainly finds its origin in their different way of selecting a partner at various stages of the life-course. Mortality differential is the main differentiation factor in later life, and will be considered in further work. Eventually, this study will help to develop a well-defined set of inputs for micro-simulation models aiming at comparing change in men and women\'s family situations in key European countries.

Email: Dr. Eva Beaujouan: eva.beaujouan@oeaw.ac.at|

Is marriage a good way to 'recession-proof' men's careers? Marital status and occupational mobility in changing economic conditions
Erzsebet Bukodi Department of Social Policy and Intervention & Nuffield College, University of Oxford

There is an abundance of research on the effects of marital status on men\'s earnings. However, research into the effects of marital status on the chances and risks of occupational life-course mobility is scarce, especially in the context of changing economic conditions. This paper aims to fill this void, answering the following research questions: (1) Do married men experience more upward and less downward occupational mobility than their unmarried counterparts? (2) If so, is the association between marital status and occupational mobility the same in economic booms and busts? The analyses are based on two British birth cohort studies relating to men born in 1958 and 1970, and cover their life-courses between first leaving full-time education and age 34. The early work histories of both of these cohorts were hit by relatively severe economic recessions. Preliminary results suggest that, on average, married men are less likely than unmarried men to change jobs that also involve changing occupations. If they do change occupations, the large majority of these changes are upward moves. This pattern of association between marital status and occupational mobility holds after controlling for employment and occupational histories before marriage and also for a wide range of other factors that are thought to affect both marital and career decisions. Furthermore, the difference between the married and the unmarried is more pronounced in economically hard times. When the unemployment rate is high and economic conditions are worsening, the probability of married men changing occupations - especially into downward direction - is distinctively low.

Email: Dr. Erzsebet Bukodi: erzsebet.bukodi@nuffield.ox.ac.uk|

Expectations and careers in Switzerland
Shireen Kanji, Sandra Hupka-Brunner, University of Basel

Does the desire for children, as distinct from actual fertility, limit women’s careers? We examine whether young women, who at age 16 express a strong preference for having children, aspire to and realise more gender-segregated occupations than other women. In addition our investigation addresses whether: (1) only women with lesser prospects in the labour market express an interest in having children, (2) women with an early preference for children realise more or less gendered occupational paths than they had previously envisaged and (3) factors associated with wanting to have children differ significantly between men and women. The analysis uses data from the Transition from Education to Employment (TREE) survey, which follows a nationally representative sample of young people from the PISA 2000 study in Switzerland. The results confirm that women who want children envisage and realise a more gendered occupational path than other women, but not because of a lesser level of ability or attainment. Wanting to have children is associated with ambition and a positive attitude to life for men, social communication for women and a high valuation of security and leisure for both.

Email: Dr. Shireen Kanji: shireen.kanji@unibas.ch|

Life Course Events and Residential Change: The Good the Not So Good and the Unexpected
William A.V. Clark University of California Los Angeles

We know that life course events trigger residential moves, especially divorce and separation but we know less about how these and other life course events intersect with how far people move and specifically changes in labor markets. This research uses data from the Housing Income and Labor Survey in Australia (HILDA) to model a set of life course events and their intersection with the distance of move. I examine "good" life events, marriage and new births, not so good events, divorce, separation and widowhood, and unexpected events, job loss and evictions and their outcomes in the housing market. For the decision to move the models parallel other studies of life course events and the decision to move, but the results for the distance of move have different relevant variables and marginal effects. The disruption of divorce and separation, as expected, increase the probability of moving but with different marginal effects over distance. Income and income change play a much more important role in long distance moves.

Email: wclark@geog.ucla.edu|

Living alone in mid-life: diversity and change
Dieter Demey, ESRC Centre for Population Change, University of Southampton Ann Berrington, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton Maria Evandrou, Centre for Research on Ageing and ESRC Centre for Population Change, University of Southampton Jane Falkingham, ESRC Centre for Population Change, University of Southampton

This study investigates diversity within the population living on their own in mid-life in the United Kingdom by analysing partnership trajectories into solo-living in mid-life, and the kin availability and socio-economic characteristics of middle-aged men and women living alone. Despite the rise in living alone in mid-life since the 1980s, in particular among middle-aged men, there has been little scholarly attention for the diverse pathways into solo-living, how these differ by gender, and how these influence the socio-economic composition as well as the care and financial resources of those living alone in mid-life. In this paper, we first argue that the partnership and parenthood trajectories of those living on their own in mid-life are diverse and discuss how these might differ by gender and between socio-economic groups. We then use data from the General Household Survey (GHS) to describe the trend in living alone for the period 1984 to 2009. Next, we use the first wave of Understanding Society (USoc) (2009-10) to analyse the partnership histories, kin availability and socio-economic characteristics of those living alone in mid-life. The findings indicate that the dissolution of a marriage with children is the dominant pathway into mid-life solo-living, but also that there is a substantial group of never-partnered men living alone with both low and high socio-economic status. We discuss how we can make a distinction between different "types" of people living alone in mid-life and stress the policy implications of the heterogeneous composition of the population living alone in mid-life.

Email: Dieter Demey: d.demey@soton.ac.uk|

Does social origin shape the transition to adulthood? A cross-national European comparison
Adriana Duta, University of Southampton and Melinda Mills, University of Groningen

In an era dominated by major societal transformations, European societies are experiencing many changes in the life course. One of the most significant areas of changes has occurred in the transition to adulthood, this, urging researchers to focus on describing the new emerging trajectories. In this paper, we aim to build on the research conceptualizing transition to adulthood as a holistic trajectory, while also emphasising the role of social origins in shaping these trajectories. Although scholars have extensively researched the role of social origins on the transition to different life events, there is little empirical research on the influence of social origins on the entire transition to adulthood which can capture not only the timing but also the sequencing of events. Social origin is measured by occupation and education of both mother and father. Relying on data from the third wave of the European Social Survey, the current paper examines the effect of social origins on people’s entire adulthood trajectory (leaving parental home, first job, first cohabitation, first marriage and first child) from age 15 to age 35, across four groups of cohorts, from 20 European countries, accounting for 5 welfare regimes in Europe. We ask how this effect varies by cohort, welfare regime but also by gender and when accounting for respondent’s education and occupation. Trajectories are built based on a 14-state model of transition to adulthood, employing sequence analysis. Using optimal matching techniques, clusters of trajectories are generated which are finally used as dependent variable in a multinomial logistic regression.

Key words: social origins, transition to adulthood, sequence analysis, European comparison

Email: Adriana Duta: ad3e11@soton.co.uk|

Is it time to panic? The probability of achieving a first birth in a comparative perspective
Julia Mikolai, University of Southampton

Using data from the Harmonised Histories, we study the influence of previous union histories on the probability of becoming a parent for the 1960-1969 birth cohort in a cross-national context. First, we employ a “forward looking” approach and examine the probabilities of men and women to become a parent by age 40 given their previous union experiences at certain key ages, such as age 25, 30, and 35. Previous union experiences include the experience of cohabitation, marriage, union dissolution, and re-partnering. By applying multistate models, we provide an innovative way to understand how different pathways shape men’s and women’s probabilities to achieve parenthood by age 40. Second, we take a “backward looking” approach and study the probability of achieving a first birth given certain previous union experiences such as ever experiencing a union dissolution, divorce, cohabitation, or marriage or never having experienced a union. We compare and contrast the results in a cross-national perspective.

Email: Julia Mikolai: jm1e11@soton.ac.uk|