Volume 36 - Article 10 | Pages 307-338

Family migration in a cross-national perspective: The importance of institutional and cultural context

By Sergi Vidal, Francisco Perales, Philipp M. Lersch, Maria Brandén

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Date received:22 Jan 2016
Date published:18 Jan 2017
Word count:6468
Keywords:cross-national comparison, dual-earner couples, event history analysis, family migration, female employment, institutional context
DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2017.36.10
 

Abstract

Objective: Migration rates of dual-earner couples are lower than those of male-breadwinner couples. We revisit this issue using a cross-national comparative perspective and examine heterogeneity in the role of female employment in couple relocations. We propose a theoretical framework in which national levels of support for female employment and normative expectations about gender roles act as moderators of the relationship between couple type (i.e., dual-earner and male-breadwinner) and family migration.

Methods: We deploy discrete-time event history analyses of harmonised longitudinal data from four large-scale datasets from Australia, Britain, Germany, and Sweden, covering the 1992-2011 period.

Results: Consistent with prior research, we find that male-breadwinner couples migrate more often than dual-earner couples in all countries, suggesting that traditional gender structures affecting family migration operate across very different contexts. We also find cross-country differences in the estimated effects of different sorts of absolute and relative partner resources on family migration.

Conclusions: We take our results as preliminary evidence that national contexts can serve as moderators of the relationship between within-couple employment arrangements and family migration decisions.

Contribution: Our study contributes to family migration literature by illustrating how cross-national comparisons are a valuable methodological approach to put prevailing micro-level explanations of the relationship between female employment and family migration in context.

Author's Affiliation

Sergi Vidal - University of Queensland, Australia [Email]
Francisco Perales - University of Queensland, Australia [Email]
Philipp M. Lersch - Universität zu Köln, Germany [Email]
Maria Brandén - Stockholms Universitet, Sweden [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Division of housework and his and her view of housework fairness: A typology of Swedish couples
Volume 36 - Article 16

» My house or our home? Transitions into sole home ownership in British couples
Volume 35 - Article 6

» Domestic gender equality and childbearing in Sweden
Volume 29 - Article 40

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