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

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  • Jean-Marie Le Goff

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

Abstract

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”.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Marie Le Goff, 2002. "Cohabiting unions in France and West Germany: transitions to first birth and first marriage," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2002-025, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2002-025
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    File URL: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/papers/working/wp-2002-025.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. repec:cai:popine:popu_p1996_51n3_0715 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. 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.
    4. Michael J. Brien & Lee A. Hillard & Linda Waite, "undated". "Cohabitation, Marriage, and Non-Fertility," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 97-5, Chicago - Population Research Center.
    5. repec:cai:popine:popu_p1994_49n6_1373 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Anne Salles & Clémentine Rossier & Sara Brachet, 2010. "Understanding the long term effects of family policies on fertility: The diffusion of different family models in France and Germany," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 22(34), pages 1057-1096, June.
    2. Brienna Perelli-Harris, 2014. "How Similar are Cohabiting and Married Parents? Second Conception Risks by Union Type in the United States and Across Europe," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 30(4), pages 437-464, November.
    3. Lesia Nedoluzhko & Victor Agadjanian, 2010. "Marriage, childbearing, and migration in Kyrgyzstan: Exploring interdependencies," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 22(7), pages 159-188, February.
    4. Brienna Perelli-Harris & Michaela Kreyenfeld & Wendy Sigle-Rushton & Renske Keizer & Trude Lappegård & Aiva Jasilioniene & Caroline Berghammer & Paola Di Giulio & Katja Köppen, 2009. "The increase in fertility in cohabitation across Europe: examining the intersection between union status and childbearing," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2009-021, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    5. Anne Salles & Clémentine Rossier & Sara Brachet, 2011. "Family policies, norms about gender roles and fertility decisions in France and Germany," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 9(1), pages 259-282.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    France; Germany (Alte Bundesländer); Germany/FRG;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

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