Education and the Transition to Motherhood: A Comparative Analysis of Western Europe

Francesco C. Billari, Università Bocconi
Dimiter Philipov, Vienna Institute of Demography

This study focuses on micro-level interrelationship between the educational trajectories of women and the transition to motherhood. We disentangle the impact of events in one trajectory on events in the other trajectory, from common factors such as aspirations and orientations that simultaneously affect both trajectories. We argue that macro-level institutional factors are the key ones shaping this interrelationship. To shed light on the empirical relevance of macro-level factors, we adopt an international comparative approach. We apply simultaneous hazard models to individual-level data from Fertility and Family Surveys (FFS) in 11 Western European countries. We find important international differences in micro-level relationships: the mutual influence and the importance of common factors for both processes are weaker where welfare regimes, and social policies that allow role combinations in particular, are stronger.

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Presented in Session 54: Education and Fertility