Volume 28 - Article 31 | Pages 881-916

Does his paycheck also matter?: The socioeconomic resources of co-residential partners and entry into parenthood in Finland

By Marika Jalovaara, Anneli Miettinen

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Date received:22 Nov 2012
Date published:19 Apr 2013
Word count:7766
Keywords:childbearing, fertility, Finland, men, socio-economic differentials, union
DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2013.28.31
 

Abstract

Background: Previous research on fertility has focused on women, and less attention has been paid to men and couples.

Objective: The aim of this study is to examine how the socioeconomic resources of cohabiting and married partners affect entry into parenthood in a relatively gender-egalitarian welfare society.

Methods: The study is based on Finnish register data and uses event-history analysis to predict first births from both partners’ socioeconomic characteristics.

Results: The results show that each partner being employed (as opposed to studying) and having a higher income seems to encourage entry into parenthood. As compared to employed couples, either partner being currently unemployed or having recent spells of unemployment had very weak effects, whereas either partner being economically inactive seems to discourage childbearing. Although the resources of male partners also have an effect, the female partner’s situation appears to be equally or even more influential. The effects of female partners’ characteristics are almost as great when male characteristics are controlled as when they are not, and women’s and men’s characteristics do not interact with each other. Moreover, with regard to income and educational attainment beyond age 30, for example, the woman’s resources have a stronger positive effect than the resources of the male partner.

Conclusions: Together with several previous studies from the Nordic countries, this study lends support to the idea that the influence of women’s and men’s economic resources on family formation are perhaps much more symmetrical than conventional theories suggest.

Comments: The significance of women's own resources, net of the male partner’s resources, suggests that previous studies have not overestimated their positive impact.

Author's Affiliation

Marika Jalovaara - University of Turku, Finland [Email]
Anneli Miettinen - Population Research Institute, Family Federation of Finland, Finland [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

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» Recent fertility patterns of Finnish women by union status: A descriptive account
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» Gender equality and fertility intentions revisited: Evidence from Finland
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» A review of the antecedents of union dissolution
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» Socioeconomic differentials in divorce risk by duration of marriage
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