Centre for Economic Demography

Lund University School of Economics and Management

Family, Fertility and Gender: significant results since 2006

Research at CED within the field of family, fertility and gender has generated a number of studies and interesting findings. When analysing family life among the highly educated, we find that, quite unexpectedly, so called power couples are more likely to continue childbearing, and less likely to separate, than other couples, all else being equal. This implies that despite the expected higher opportunity costs of childbearing and small gains to specialization, those who start a family combine careers and continued childbearing (Dribe & Stanfors 2010).

In many ways, Sweden stands out as a demographic forerunner in international comparisons. Our findings confirm this in many respects. An investigation of the impact of parenthood on time use of men and women and how it changed over the 1990s shows that while parenthood in 1990 clearly strengthened a traditional gender division of labour in the household, this was much less the case in 2000, when parenthood actually affected men and women in a rather similar way (Dribe & Stanfors 2009a,b).

Complementary studies on the utilization of parental leave indicate that the sharing of temporary parental leave (i.e. to take care of a sick child) between mothers and fathers can be explained by a so called Stackelberg model with male dominance, where a stronger threat-point of the woman pushes allocation of leave towards greater sharing (Amilon 2007). For lone mothers, taking temporary parental leave is associated with a signalling cost (Amilon 2010). For couples, "comparison sharing" (i.e. the sharing of parental leave by comparable couples) influences ' the satisfaction of mothers with leave sharing, but this is not the case for men (Amilon 2009).

Several projects devote attention to the ethnicity dimension of family formation. Immigrants from countries categorized as distant to native standards with regards to values are less likely to intermarry with natives than are immigrants from more culturally proximate countries. Mixed couples face higher dissolution risks than do the endogamous. The disruptive effect increases with value dissimilarity between the spouses. Results also reveal large intermarriage premiums, but for most immigrants this is mainly a result of selection. For the most economically marginalized, however, results indicate that marrying a native woman has a causal effect on earnings (Dribe & Lundh 2008, 2011). Demographic integration has also been studied for the second generation from a gender perspective. There is an adherence to a common pattern for entry into parenthood that supports the notion of integration and gradual adjustment among the second generation to a Swedish childbearing norm, most likely supported by institutional factors, working through economic incentives (Scott & Stanfors 2010, 2011). There is also some evidence of integration of first generation immigrants into the fertility dynamics of Swedish society (Andersson & Scott 2007).



Amilon A. (2010) "The Temporary Leave Dilemma: Lone and Partnered Mothers in Sweden ." Feminist Economics, 16(4), 33-52.

Amilon A. (2009) "Satisfaction and 'Comparison Sharing' - What Influences Swedsih Parents' Satisfaction with the Sharing of Parental Leave?" The Journal of Socio-Economics, 38(4), 630-640.

Amilon A. (2007) "On the sharing of Temporaray Parental Leave: the Case of Sweden." Review of Economics of the Household, 5(4), 385-404.

Andersson G, Scott K. (2007) "Childbearing Dynamics of Couples in a Universalistic Welfare State: The role of labor-market status, country of origin and gender." Demographic Research, 17(30), 897-938.

Dribe M, Lundh C. (2011)"Cultural Dissimmilarity and Intermarriage. A Longitudinal Study of Immigrants in Sweden 1990-2005." International Migration Review, 45(2), 297-324.

Dribe M, Lundh C. (2008) "Intermarriage and Immigrant Integration in Sweden: An Exploratory Analysis." Acta Sociologica, 51, 329-354.

Dribe M, Stanfors M. (2010) "Family Life in Power Couples. Continued Childbearing and Union Stability among the Educational Elite in Sweden, 1991-2005." Demographic research, 23, 847-878.

Dribe M, Stanfors M. (2009a) "Partner Choice and Intergenerational Occupational Mobility: The case of Nineteenth Century Rural Sweden." Continuity and Change, 24, 487-512.

Dribe M, Stanfors M. (2009b) "Education, Work and Parenthood: The Experience of Young Men and Women in Post-War Sweden." Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 30, 32-42.

Scott K, Stanfors, M. (2011) "The transition to parenthood among the second generation: evidence from Sweden, 1990-2005." Advances in Life Course Research. Published online October 4, 2011.