Family migration in cross-national comparative perspective: project aims and first results for Australia, Britain, Germany and Sweden

Sergi Vidal, University of Queensland
Francisco Perales, University of Queensland
Philipp Lersch, Tilburg University
Maria Brandén, Stockholm University

There has been a long-standing debate on the gendered determinants of family migration and the asymmetrical impacts that family moves exert on the lives of men and women. Generally speaking, male partners are more likely to move for their own careers and female partners are more likely to follow them. In turn, men reap the benefits of migration while women experience lower occupational returns or even losses. Although the gendering of family migration is pervasive and persists across developed societies, variations in the way its determinants and outcomes intersect with gender may vary along institutional structures. This expectation is supported by a large literature depicting cross-national differences in other realms of gender relations at the household level such as family formation or distribution of paid and unpaid work. This literature highlighted the role of national institutions filtering the ways in which couples negotiate their life courses. Despite that, cross-national variation and institutional effects received poor attention by family migration scholars, as the bulk of the associated literature has limited itself to the study of a single national context. The goal of this presentation is twofold. First, we present a new unprecedented cross-national comparative project that explores cross-national variation and examines the role of national institutions in relation to gender asymmetries in the determination and the work related outcomes of family migrations initially considering, but not restricted to, the cases of Australia, Britain, Germany and Sweden. The project is groundbreaking in that it integrates a cross-national comparative design with core life course concepts and quantitative methods for the longitudinal analysis of micro-level processes using large-scale datasets. The second part of the presentation revolves around an empirical application where we investigate national level variation on the factors contributing to family migration in the four countries.

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Presented in Session 54: Family and residential migration