Comparative analysis of the relationship between partner's educational attainment and the transition to second birth in Europe based on EU-SILC data

Martin Klesment, Tallinn University
Allan Puur, Tallinn University

The association between second births and educational attainment has been studied extensively and it has been established that in some countries higher level of education has no inhibiting effect on the intensity of higher order births among women, whereas in other countries it operates according to the prediction of microeconomic theory. An almost standard approach is to include age at first birth and partner's education in the event history models. The present study is a comparative analysis of the effect of male partner's education on second birth intensity in Europe. We are focusing on three questions. First, how does the effect of partner's education vary at the regional and country level? Second, what are the effects of educational homogamy and hypergamy? And third, how does partner's educational attainment variable affect the timing of second birth? To analyse this, we use survey rounds of the European Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), considering 29 countries (27 EU member states, plus Iceland and Norway). Separate regional models and mixed models of pooled data with country level random effects for educational attainment are applied. The results suggest that partner effect does not follow a uniform pattern and, contrary to the expectations based on micro-economic theory, the effect is not positive in all regions of Europe. While Western and Northern European countries exhibit generally positive effect, the reversed effect is observed in some Eastern European countries. Educationally homogamous partners with university degree appear as ones with elevated risk of second childbearing compared to other combinations. Partner's education also has a distinguishable but regionally diverse effect on timing of second birth.

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Presented in Session 32: New roles of women and men and societal implications in diverse policy contexts