Effects of employment instability on the intensity and timing of fertility in France: an application of turbulence to labor market trajectories

Daniel Ciganda, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

The emergence of new evidence suggesting a sign shift in the longstanding negative correlation between prosperity and fertility levels has sparked a renewed interest in understanding the relationship between economic conditions and fertility decisions. In this context, the notion of {\it uncertainty} has gained relevance in analyses of low fertility. So far, most studies have approached this notion using snapshot indicators like type of contract or employment situation. However, these types of measures seem to be falling short in capturing what is intrinsically a dynamic process. In this paper I develop an indicator of employment instability that considers the entire employment trajectory. Using sequence analysis I first classify trajectories based on their degree of {\it turbulence}, a measure that considers not only the amount of state-changes in a trajectory but also the time spent at each state. The result is then used as a time-varying covariate in a event history model of the risk of having a first child and later in a series of logistic regressions predicting the intensity of fertility at age 45+. Analyses are performed for French men and women using the first two waves of the {\it Etude des relations familiales et intergenerationnelles (ERFI)}. Although France is characterized by strong family policies and high and stable fertility levels, we find that employment instability not only has a strong and persistent negative effect on the final number of children for both men and women, but also contributes to fertility postponement in the case of men.

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Presented in Session 4: Family formation and transition to adulthood