Educational pairings and fertility across Europe: how do the low educated fare?

Natalie Nitsche, Vienna Institute of Demography
Anna Matysiak, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU) and Warsaw School of Economics
Jan Van Bavel, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Daniele Vignoli, Università di Firenze

Recent literature suggests that the relationship between fertility and education may partly be mediated by couple-dynamics and the educational attainment of the partner. Higher opportunity costs for spending time away from the labor market among highly educated women have been one of the chief motivators for investigating how the male partner’s resources or involvement with chores and childrearing may ease work-family conflict for women in this more highly educated segment of the population. However, very little is known so far on how couple dynamics may affect the education-fertility relationship among the low educated. We address this question and investigate how educational pairings among married and cohabiting partners relate to first, second, and third births transitions across Europe, using current panel data from the EU-SILC on 18 European countries and discrete time event history models. Preliminary findings indicate that low educated homogamous couples have lower second birth but higher third birth rates compared to couples with two medium educated partners, but only in some of the countries. Also, couples with a low educated woman and a medium educated male partner display higher third birth rates, perhaps indicating that the classical male breadwinner model may still be applicable to understanding family formation among couples with lower levels of education today.

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 Presented in Session 67. Education and fertility 2