Employment and fertility careers in Italy: the gender-specific effect within couples

Daniele Vignoli, University of Florence
Silvana Salvini, University of Florence

The degree of compatibility between the role of mother and the role of worker has to be regarded as a key feature when discussing the Italian lowest-low fertility. Besides, the gender system prevailing in a society is deeply related to the way these aspects are managed within the couple. It affects, for instance, the possibility of combining paid work for mothers with young children and men’s contribution to childcare and housework. From this perspective, it is significant to analyse the labour force status of each partner within the couple, as fertility and labour force options are closely related. This research examines the impact of women’s labour market participation on reproductive behaviours in Italy, from a couple-level perspective. In addition, women who choose to set up a family in a not family-friendly institutional context such as the Italian one, should either have low career ambitions or a high family orientation. Therefore, the hypothesis of “Self Selection” in contemporary Italian fertility development is tested. Finally, we also want to make out the mutual effects of participation in paid work and fertility decisions from spurious association due to joint determination. Norms and values concerning the attachment to labour force participation and to family building as well as the extent to which the conflict between the roles of mother and worker may determine both fertility and work decisions. The study is based on the multipurpose household survey “Family and Social Subjects” (FSS) 2003, conducted in Italy by the Italian National Statistical Office. We will employ a joint multiprocess model of fertility and labour market participation.

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Presented in Session 73: Fertility and Parallel Careers

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