Educational expansion, “double status positions” and the transition to motherhood in Hungary

Zsolt Spéder, Hungarian Demographic Research Institute
Tamás Bartus, Corvinus University of Budapest and Demographic Research Institute, Budapest

It is commonly shared notion that educational expansion contributed to the rapid fertility decline in post-communist countries. We argue that this explanation should be re-assessed because (i) educational expansion was carried not only by increasing participation in full time education, but also by expansion of “double status positions” (people who are enrolled and employed at the same time); and (ii) the incentives to postpone the transition to motherhood might be different between women enrolled only and women in double status positions. Hypotheses about the fertility implications of double status positions are formulated. The hypotheses are tested using event-history data from the Hungarian Generations and Gender Survey. We find that the conception hazard of women in double status positions is significantly higher than that of women enrolled only. We do not find significant difference in the conception hazard between women in double status positions and women employed only. Our findings imply that the conflict between the role of a mother and the role of a student is mitigated in double status positions, and the fertility effects of educational expansion were overstated in previous studies.

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Presented in Session 71: Special thematic session on fertility transition: opportunities and threats