Job characteristics and birth plans and transitions in Sweden

Gayle Kaufman, Davidson College
Eva Bernhardt, Stockholm University

This study seeks to address whether one's birth plans and transitions are affected not only by one's own job characteristics but also by the partner's job characteristics. This study goes beyond previous research in examining the effect of particular job characteristics on women and men’s birth plans and transitions. Additionally, we consider partner’s job characteristics as potentially important influences on fertility. In other words, are people considering how their partner might combine work and family? We use data from the 1999 and 2003 Swedish survey on "Family and Working Life in the 21st Century." Preliminary results indicate that there is some disconnect between the effects of women's job characteristics on their birth plans versus men's birth behaviour. Women whose jobs pay well, offer good career possibilities, and involve overtime work or business travel are more likely than women without such jobs to plan to have a child. However, men whose partners have career-oriented jobs are less likely to have a child during this period. On the other hand, men with partners who have jobs that make it easy to take parental leave or work part-time are more likely to have a child. In addition, both men and women with jobs that make it easy to take parental leave or work part-time are more likely to have a child themselves. In conclusion, women with career-oriented jobs may have difficulty convincing their partners to have children, but there are signs that "family friendly" jobs may promote childbearing for young people in Sweden.

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Presented in Session 91: Employment, Work-Family Balance and Fertility