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Women’s changing socioeconomic position and union formation in Spain and Portugal

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  • Marta Domínguez-Folgueras

    (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

  • Teresa Castro-Martín

    (Spanish National Research Council)

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    Abstract

    Economic and sociological theories of marriage have long emphasized the impact of women’s education and employment on union formation. In this study, we explore the relevance of the female economic independence hypothesis to explain women’s patterns of entry into marriage and cohabitation in Portugal and Spain. In these two Southern European countries, gender equity has improved remarkably in the public sphere, but family relations remain structured along traditional gender roles. We focus on three indicators of women’s autonomy: educational attainment, employment status and having lived independently from the family of origin. The analysis is based on the Fertility and Family Surveys and discrete-time multinomial logistic regression models are used to estimate the odds of marrying, cohabiting or remaining single. The results suggest that whereas the effect of female education is consistent with the independence hypothesis, women’s labour force participation encourages union formation, particularly among younger cohorts. Living independently from the family of origin reduces the likelihood of entering marriage but increases considerably the odds of cohabiting.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its journal Demographic Research.

    Volume (Year): 19 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 41 (August)
    Pages: 1513-1550

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    Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:19:y:2008:i:41

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    Web page: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/

    Related research

    Keywords: cohabitation; education; employment; independence hypothesis; marriage; Portugal; South Europe; Spain; union formation; women’s status;

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    References

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    1. Hans-Peter Kohler & Francesco C. Billari & José Antonio Ortega, 2002. "The Emergence of Lowest-Low Fertility in Europe During the 1990s," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(4), pages 641-680.
    2. Pedro Mira & Namkee Ahn, 2001. "Job bust, baby bust?: Evidence from Spain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 505-521.
    3. Teresa Castro-Martín & Marta Domínguez-Folgueras & Teresa Martín-García, 2008. "Not truly partnerless: Non-residential partnerships and retreat from marriage in Spain," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 18(16), pages 443-468, June.
    4. Francesco C. Billari & Chris Wilson, 2001. "Convergence towards diversity? Cohort dynamics in the transition to adulthood in contemporary Western Europe," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2001-039, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    5. Pau Baizan & Francesca Michielin & Francesco Billari, 2002. "Political Economy and Life Course Patterns," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 6(8), pages 191-240, March.
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