Educational Expansion, Social Classes and Reproductive Patterns in Low Fertility Settings. Theoretical Framework and Empirical Evidence for Selected Ggs Countries.

Maciej Gdula, Institute of Sociology, University of Warsaw
Krzysztof Tymicki, Demography Unit, Warsaw School of Economics

Fertility decline during the SDT has been accompanied by educational expansion. Negative relation between fertility decline and upwards educational mobility has been explained in terms of opportunity costs, labour market performance and social norms. Sociologists claim that educational expansion is weakening relationship between education, labour market performance and individual values since it is not accompanied by parallel changes in the level of social, cultural and economic capital. Thus, main goal of the research is to find out whether social class might serve as an alternative way of explaining differences in observed fertility patterns in low fertility societies. In order to achieve this goal we apply social class theory by Bourdieu in order to link changes in social structure and educational expansion to reproductive strategies and patterns. Using the employment histories (ISCO codes) from the GGS survey we reconstruct social class that is subsequently incorporated into statistical models aimed at explanation of “demographic outcomes” (parity, fertility intentions) and “normative outcomes” (attitudes towards gender roles and reproduction). Results show that social class performs as good as education with respect to “demographic outcomes” but does considerably better job in explanation of differences in “normative outcomes”. Overall, initial results show that that educational expansion led to changes in quantum and tempo of reproduction but it has only limited effect on change with respect to norms and values.

Presented in Session 99: Class Differences and Fertility