Volume 30 - Article 64 | Pages 1733–1768
Jobs, careers, and becoming a parent under state socialist and market conditions: Evidence from Estonia 1971-2006
|Date received:||22 May 2013|
|Date published:||04 Jun 2014|
|Keywords:||Estonia, fertility, gender, labor force participation, postponement, postsocialist countries, Russia, work experience|
Background: Entering employment and achieving a stable position in the labour market are considered important preconditions for childbearing. Existing studies addressing the relationship between work experience and the timing of parenthood focus exclusively on Western Europe and North America. By adding an Eastern European context before and after societal transformation, this study contributes to a more comprehensive account of the role of work experience in first-birth timing in Europe.
Objective: We investigate how work experience and career development are related to the timing of parenthood in two diverse contexts in Estonia, state socialism and the market economy, and how it varies by gender and nativity.
Methods: The data used come from the Estonian Health Interview Survey 2006-2007. We estimate piecewise constant event history models to analyse the transition to first birth.
Results: Our results suggest that in the market economy work experience became more important in the decision to enter parenthood. In the market economy the importance of work experience to entering parenthood became more similar for women and men. Non-native-origin men and women’s timing of parenthood appears to have become detached from their career developments. The article discusses mechanisms that may underlie the observed patterns.
Conclusions: Our study shows how work experience gained importance as a precondition for parenthood in the transition to a market economy. This lends support to the view that the increasing importance of work experience is among plausible drivers of the postponement transition that extended to Eastern Europe in the 1990s.
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