Partners' Educational Pairings and Fertility Across Europe

Authored by Natalie Nitsche, Anna Matysiak, Jan Van Bavel, and Daniele Vignoli (2015). The working paper can be found here: Educational Pairings Working Paper

ABSTRACT: We provide new evidence on the education-fertility relationship by using EU-SILC panel data on 17 countries to investigate how couples’ educational pairings predict their childbearing behaviour. We focus on differences in first, second and third birth rates between couples with varying combinations of partners’ education. Our results show that there are indeed important differences in how education relates to fertility depending on the education of the partner. First, homogamous highly educated couples show a distinct childbearing behaviour, at least in some countries. They tend to postpone the first birth most and display the highest transition rates to second and third births subsequently. Second, contrary to what may be expected based on conventional economic models of the family, hypergamous couples with a highly educated man and a lower educated female partner display among the lowest second and third birth transition rates across the majority of countries. Our findings underscore the relevance of interacting both partners’ education for a deeper understanding of the education-fertility relationship.

Housework over the course of relationships: Gender ideology, resources, and the division of housework from a growth curve perspective

Authored by Natalie Nitsche and Daniela Grunow (2016). The published paper can be found here: Couples and Housework

ABSTRACT: In the 21st century, the division of housework remains gendered, with women on average still spending more time doing chores than their male partners. While research has studied why this phenomenon is so persistent, few studies have yet been able to assess the effect of gender ideology and socio-economic resources at the same time, usually due to data restrictions. We use data from the pairfam, a new and innovative German panel study, in order to test the effect of absolute and relative resources as well as his and her gender ideology on the division of housework. We employ a life course perspective and analyze trajectories of couples’ housework division over time, using multi-level random effects growth curve models. We find that an egalitarian gender ideology of both him and her significantly predicts more egalitarian division-trajectories, while neither absolute nor relative resources appear to have an effect on the division of housework over time. Furthermore, our results expand the literature by investigating how these processes differ among childless couples and couples who experience the first birth.

Family Formation and Gender

Authored by Natalie Nitsche and Anna Matysiak (forthcoming). The final version can be found here: Family Formation and Gender

ABSTRACT: Family formation is a well-studied topic in demography and the social sciences. Yet, open questions to be addressed by future research remain. In this essay, we focus on the childbearing side of family formation. We are discussing how a gendered lens, which led researchers to concentrate on women’s experiences, has shaped previous studies. We argue that future research can be advanced by: (1) going beyond this perspective and addressing men and their experiences pertaining to work and family; and by (2) broadening research on couples in order to understand how his and her resources, values and experiences interact in relating to family formation. Furthermore, we discuss (3) the relevance of incorporating a larger array of macro-level factors into studies on family formation, such as regulations affecting the practical and daily lives of families, or the cultural context of emotions; and (4) which methodological advances are needed to address the complexity of the studied processes..