The Labour Market Preconditions to Fertility in Belgium: The Importance of Gender
Leen Marynissen, University of Antwerp
Micro-economic theories predict that the fulfilment of the aforementioned economic preconditions has a positive effect on first birth hazards, but do not differentiate in terms of partners’ relative labour force positions: couples are assumed to divide paid and unpaid work in the economically most efficient manner, regardless of gender.
The doing gender hypothesis on the other hand argues that couples conform to and reproduce gender norms, suggesting that traditional gender roles may persist, resulting in differential effects of women’s versus men’s labour market positions on first birth hazards.
Empirically, previous studies on couples’ labour market positions and fertility routinely lacked the necessary data required to look into different dimensions of labour market positions rather than mere activity or employment. Using data from a Belgian Administrative Socio-Demographic Panel (1999-2010) which contains detailed quarterly data on labour market and income positions for all household members, this paper examines the effect of women’s labour force position relative to that of their partners on first birth decisions in Belgium between 2000 and 2010.
Presented in Poster Session 3