Volume 40 - Article 8 | Pages 185–218

Persistent joblessness and fertility intentions

By Annalisa Busetta, Daria Mendola, Daniele Vignoli

Print this page  Facebook  Twitter

 

 
Date received:28 Dec 2017
Date published:25 Jan 2019
Word count:7463
Keywords:employment instability, fertility intentions, gender differences, Italy
DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2019.40.8
 

Abstract

Background: The vast majority of demographic studies have approached and operationalised the notion of economic uncertainty using snapshot indicators. Hence, the complexity and diversity of individuals’ employment careers were largely hidden. We posit that the persistence of joblessness – that is, repeated and close spells of joblessness – represents a crucial marker of economic uncertainty in the realm of fertility (intention) research.

Objective: We aim to explore the association between persistent joblessness of both members of the couple and women’s fertility intentions among those who entered employment at least once in the last five years.

Methods: We develop an index of persistent joblessness that simultaneously considers individual and contextual labour market conditions. It accounts for the severity of the experience of joblessness, the chances that an individual will escape joblessness, the alleviating effects of the years spent in continuous employment, and the recentness of any joblessness experience. This index is operationalized for Italy by consulting the 2009 Family and Social Subjects Survey. We verify the association between the index and women’s fertility intentions among Italian couples, net of a series of confounders.

Results: Our findings show that the higher the level of persistent joblessness, the lower a woman’s fertility intentions. Within couples, we found a gendered association between joblessness and fertility intentions: His joblessness, more than hers, seems to play the decisive role in inhibiting a woman’s fertility intentions.

Contribution: We corroborated that joblessness inhibits positive fertility intentions and facilitates negative fertility intentions. But we also added that these associations are much more pronounced when joblessness has been persistent. Disregarding the role of persistence in joblessness, scholars might underestimate the importance of individual-risk factors linked to labour market biographies in fertility planning. We additionally illustrated that accounting for regional labour market dynamics, thus placing one’s own level of persistence in joblessness in context, is pivotal.

Author's Affiliation

Annalisa Busetta - Università degli Studi di Palermo, Italy [Email]
Daria Mendola - Università degli Studi di Palermo, Italy [Email]
Daniele Vignoli - Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Happy parents’ tweets: An exploration of Italian Twitter data using sentiment analysis
Volume 40 - Article 25

» The positive impact of women’s employment on divorce: Context, selection, or anticipation?
Volume 38 - Article 37

» Uncertain lives: Insights into the role of job precariousness in union formation in Italy
Volume 35 - Article 10

» What is your couple type? Gender ideology, housework sharing, and babies
Volume 32 - Article 30

» Religion and union formation in Italy: Catholic precepts, social pressure, and tradition
Volume 31 - Article 35

» Towards a new understanding of cohabitation: Insights from focus group research across Europe and Australia
Volume 31 - Article 34

» Whose job instability affects the likelihood of becoming a parent in Italy? A tale of two partners
Volume 26 - Article 2

» Things change: Women’s and men’s marital disruption dynamics in Italy during a time of social transformations, 1970-2003
Volume 24 - Article 5

» Rising marital disruption in Italy and its correlates
Volume 20 - Article 4

» Fertility change in Egypt: From second to third birth
Volume 15 - Article 18

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

» Who leaves, who stays? Gendered routes out of the family home following union dissolution in Italy
Volume 40 - Article 20    | Keywords: gender differences, Italy

» Economic reasons for not wanting a second child: Changes before and after the onset of the economic recession in Italy
Volume 38 - Article 30    | Keywords: fertility intentions, Italy

» Whose job instability affects the likelihood of becoming a parent in Italy? A tale of two partners
Volume 26 - Article 2    | Keywords: employment instability, Italy

» Things change: Women’s and men’s marital disruption dynamics in Italy during a time of social transformations, 1970-2003
Volume 24 - Article 5    | Keywords: gender differences, Italy

» Longitudinal employment trajectories and health in middle life: Insights from linked administrative and survey data
Volume 40 - Article 47    | Keywords: Italy