Couple power relations and fertility: a case study of France and Poland

Beata Osiewalska, Cracow University of Economics

The dramatic fall in fertility level has been observed so far in many European countries. This phenomenon led to the particular interest in the association between fertility and women’s educational attainment or labour market participation. Moreover, the increase in female education and professional activity are the most common explanations of limited fertility. However, the various fertility levels observed among European countries suggest that the effect depends also on other conditions, such as the institutional support given to a family or the gender equality and power relation between partners. This study aims at investigating couples’ procreative behaviour with regard to the multidimensional partners’ power relation. The effect of the relation between partners’ educational level, the age gap and female age at union formation as well as the influence of current division of housework and decision-making responsibilities, is examined. To consider different country-specific contexts, the case study of France and Poland is compared. Since behavioural drivers might differ among parents and childless couples, both groups are considered under the hurdle Zero-Truncated Poisson model with Bayesian approach. The first wave GGS data are used. The analysis confirmed that the couple’s family model is driven by the gender power relation. The results differ by country. In Poland, the male advantage in power relation is still positively connected to fertility. However, this relation seems to change, especially in younger age group, where signs of reverse association also appear. In France, on the other hand, the connection between power relation and fertility is more mixed. The positive effect of male as well as female empowerment on fertility occurs.

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 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session 1