Sibling competition for marriage and reproduction: evidence from Western Hungarian rural populations during the demographic transition

Levente Pakot, Hungarian Demographic Research Institute

One influential theory explaining the fertility transition is the changing parental investment strategies, as parents tend to invest more in child quality than in child quantity. Moreover this theory predict that parental investment diverge during the demographic transition according to resource availability: the wealthiest couples invest more in quality than in quantity of children. The objective of this paper is to study sibling competition for marriage and reproduction during the period of demographic transition, by using longitudinal micro-level data, reconstructed for two rural communities from Western Hungary. Logistic regression and event-history analysis are used to investigate whether family characteristics, especially the presence of older and younger brothers and sisters in the family, were detrimental or not to marriage and local reproduction of sons with different socioeconomic background. Preliminary results suggest that the presence of brothers were detrimental to local reproduction, while the presence of sisters did not affect the reproduction of sons who reached adulthood. Socioeconomic status of the father was a key factor of differentiation: sons of farmers had the highest odds for local reproduction, while sons of day labourers had the lowest. The position of sons among their sibling groups had the greatest and statistically significant effect among the sons of farmers. Within-family differences emerged also in the process of marriage timing of those who married in the parish of origin. First born and middle born sons married significantly later than sons without living brothers. Moreover, the sons of farmers significantly married later in the presence of sisters (younger and older too), a pattern that did not characterise sons of day labourers.

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Presented in Session 20: Marriage and cohabiting patterns in the past