Transition to end of education and motherhood. A comparative analysis of changes over time in Eastern Europe

Cornelia Muresan, Babes-Bolyai University

In times when educational investments last longer and longer, it becomes increasingly important to study how motherhood can be combined with continuous investments in human-capital and how the socioeconomic context plays a role in the education-family balance. The literature has shown that a first birth usually triggers the end of education and, on the other hand, the transition to a first birth is triggered by the end of education. However, the potential endogeneity of educational enrollment and the timing of first birth have rarely been assessed. In this paper I use a simultaneous-hazard two-equation model to assess the impact of pregnancy and motherhood on educational enrollment, by controlling for potentially common determinants (unobserved heterogeneity). I focus on a yet unstudied institutional setting, the Eastern European countries, including also three Western European countries in order to explore similarities and differences. I use data from GGSs, namely national subsamples of 17-35 olds, enrolled, childless women. The basic presupposition is that early motherhood has a negative effect, by reducing educational aspirations. However, since institutional and cultural factors do play a crucial role in shaping life-course interrelationship, I disentangle between three calendar periods: the last years of communist regimes (the 1980s), the first eight years of the transition period (1990-1997), and respectively the last available post-transition years (1998-2004/08). Preliminary results show that, regardless the type of welfare-state regime, in the period around year 2000 almost all countries converged to the situation where pregnancy and motherhood during studies triggers the end of education. By contrast, the period 1990-1997 permitted to combine studies with childbearing. Common unobserved determinants of the two careers have a relatively weak importance in Romania (familialistic regime), in the former-soviet countries, and in Norway (de-standardized life-course); but strong effect in Bulgaria and Hungary, and in France and Germany (conservative welfare regime).

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Presented in Poster Session 2