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Cohabiting unions in France and West Germany: transitions to first birth and first marriage

  • Jean-Marie Le Goff

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

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    This paper compares the non-marital birth pattern in France and West Germany. Since the beginning of the eighties, France witnessed a steady increase in non-marital birth rates, while in West Germany non-marital birth rates have remained at a relatively low level. We attribute these differences to the institutional and legal constraints from both sides of the Rhine which hamper or foster childbearing in cohabiting unions. In West Germany, family policies are based on the model of the conjugal family and the male breadwinner model. Until recently, it was not possible for an unmarried father to recognize his child and to obtain parental authority. In France, family policies have responded to the “pluralization” of family lives and it is possible for an unmarried father to recognize his child and obtain parental authority. Using data from the French and German Family and Fertility Survey, we apply event history modeling to the transition to marriage and first birth. Our results indicate a polarization of family forms in both countries. In West Germany, we find a polarization in a “family sector” and a “non-family sector” while in France there is a polarization in a “marriage sector” and a “cohabiting sector”.

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    File URL: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/papers/working/wp-2002-025.pdf
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    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its series MPIDR Working Papers with number WP-2002-025.

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    Length: - pages
    Date of creation: Jun 2002
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2002-025
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/

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    1. repec:cai:popine:popu_p1994_49n6_1373 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Michael J. Brien & Lee A. Hillard & Linda Waite, . "Cohabitation, Marriage, and Non-Fertility," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 97-5, Chicago - Population Research Center.
    3. repec:cai:popine:popu_p1996_51n3_0715 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Pau Baizán Munoz & Arnstein Aassve & Francesco C. Billari, 2001. "Cohabitation, marriage, first birth: the interrelationship of family formation events in Spain," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2001-036, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    5. Karsten Hank & Michaela Kreyenfeld, 2000. "Does the availability of childcare influence the employment of mothers? Findings from western Germany," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2000-003, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
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