Age-heterogeneous couples and their children – testing the transmission of demographic behaviors

Sven Drefahl, Stockholm University

A moderate relationship between demographic behaviors of parents and children has long been documented in the literature (e.g Kolk, 2013a; Murphy, 1999; Murphy & Knudsen, 2002; Steenhof & Liefbroer, 2008). To explain these associations, researchers have identified the transmission of values, norms, and attitudes from the parent generation to their children one of the most important explanations (Kolk, 2013b). We test how norms and values regarding first birth and first marriage timing are transmitted to children of age-heterogeneous parents. In age-heterogeneous couples, each partner experienced marriage and first birth at different stages in their life course. Thus, each parent represents a different role model for their children - with unique characteristics and specific norms and values regarding the timing of demographic events. In this paper we study the effect of age-heterogamy on the transmission of demographic events, explore how the effects are altered by parental characteristics, and investigate differences in the strength of the association by the gender of the child.

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Presented in Session 8: Changing unions: trends and impacts