ESRA 2017 Programme

Tuesday 18th July      Wednesday 19th July      Thursday 20th July      Friday 21th July     

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Wednesday 19th July, 11:00 - 12:30 Room: F2 104

Life course research 2

Chair Professor Bogdan Voicu (Romanian Academy & Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu )

Session Details

Paper Details

1. Risk-averse or reproducing status? Gender, parenthood, and employer discrimination: Insights from a survey experiment
Mr Gabriele Mari (University of Trento)

Following the lead of Keuschnigg and Wolbring (2016), this survey experiment puts to test different theories of gender discrimination in labour markets. Under statistical discrimination, risk-averse employers prefer not to hire young childless women, worried about potential productivity losses in the future. This should hold especially for long-term employment relationships.
Differently, status-based discrimination (Correll et al. 2007) would predict mothers to be the most disadvantaged group. Motherhood, regardless of the risks associated with the length of employment relationships, is associated by employers with low status, i.e. low competence and low commitment. This is especially relevant in male-typical jobs, whereas mothers in female-typical jobs may even be preferred (to men and childless women), being thought to be particularly competent only when caring and nurturance are involved. Previous research considered only mixed-sex lines of work and experiments have not be designed, so far, to tackle predictions from both theories.

In a survey experiment, employers, recruited through the LISS web-panel, face job applications for a given vacancy, in a male-typical (software engineer) or female-typical job (primary-school teacher). Applications are equalized in a pre-test and distinguished only by the treatments in a 2 (gender) x 2 (parental status) x 2 (length of work contract) design. A questionnaire follows in which constructs such as competence, productivity, and commitment are tapped. Three outcomes will be analyzed: 1) hiring recommendation; 2) proposed salary; 3) likelihood of future promotion. Since each participant faces a pair of applications, multilevel models will be deployed.
Fieldwork started in December 2016 and is scheduled to end in March 2017.


2. How do Changes in Family Policies Influence the Individual Life Course?
Mrs Gesche Brandt (German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW))

In most partnerships, the birth of a child leads to a gender-specific division of labour: Men increase their occupational activity while women take the main responsibility for household and child care (Kühhirt, 2012; Schober, 2013). As a result, the life course of most men follows the institutional pattern of the so-called normal life course. The normal life course is organized around the working life and divided into the three phases of education, employment and retirement (Kohli, 1985). On the contrary to this, women’s life courses include interruptions when they become mothers (Geissler, 1998; Sørensen, 1990). Furthermore, women with children often reenter the labour market in part time employment. These deviations from the normal life course cause a number of disadvantages for women including lower wages, lower occupational positions, lower pensions and a higher risk of poverty in the case of a divorce (ibid.).
In 2007, the Parental Allowance and Parental Leave Act was introduced in Germany. The aim of this reform was (amongst others) to shorten the time span of parental leave taken by mothers and to increase the share of fathers taking parental leave (Bujard, 2013; Wrohlich et al., 2012). Apparently, highly educated women benefit to great extends from the new political regulation (Bujard and Passet, 2013; Wrohlich et al., 2012) and the share of highly educated men taking parental leave is higher than before. Does therefore the new political regulation lead to converging life course patterns among highly qualified men and women and are new institutional patterns emerging?
To answer these questions, life course patterns of higher education graduates are analysed using sequence analysis. The empirical analysis is based on the 1997, 2001 and 2005 graduation cohorts of the graduate panel studies conducted by the German Centre for Research on Higher Education and Science Studies (DZHW). The sample consists of approximately 14,000 persons representing graduates of all types of universities and subjects. For each cohort, the period of investigation covers the first ten years after graduation. This period represents the so-called rush hour of life which is characterized by the start and establishment of the working career and family formation. The family formations of the older cohort took place before 2007 and of the youngest after 2007. Sequences cover 120 states (= months) per person and information on activities in each month has been collected using a calendar. In the analysis four states are differentiated: 1) full-time employment, 2) part-time employment 3) care work 4) other / no information. Using the optimal matching algorithm, the similarities of the individual courses are calculated and then grouped by a cluster analysis.
The results confirm that men with higher education degrees usually are full-time employed even if they become fathers. However, the proportion of fathers with parental leave experiences increases significantly after the reform. The live courses of mothers are still diverse. Although first tendencies of approximation are evident, the traditional patterns still dominate.


3. Fringed life-satisfaction? A life-course perspective over the impact of international migration on subjective wellbeing
Professor Bogdan Voicu (Romanian Academy & Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu)

This paper looks at changes in life satisfaction given the challenges brought by international migration to life course of mobile individuals. Life satisfaction is seen as embedded in cultures of satisfaction (Cummins, 2002). It supports structural modifications and preserves traits through resilience when context changes due to international migration (Voicu & Vasile, 2014) or due to return migration (Bartram, 2013). Life satisfaction is also subject to potential modifications given historical changes, cohort changes, and life-course changes (Allan & Jones, 2003). The later are of interest for this study. Within existing literature, life-events such as divorce, marriage, or parental divorce were related to outcomes such as well-being (Amato & Keith, 1991), socio-economic attainment (Amato, 2001), social trust (Voicu, 2016), etc. Such perspectives became recently more and more visible in contemporary social sciences (Alwin, 2012). The focus of this paper is on the interaction between the three types of change that transform the context, and to see if their joint impact differs for migrants as contrasted to native populations. Three types of data are considered. First, the paper uses panel data and compares immigrants to natives in Germany (GSOEP) and the UK (British Household Survey). Second, it compares across populations of migrants, keeping under control their origin, while they live in a single destination country – France (ELIPA dataset). Third, it briefly considers Romanian returnees, and their dependency on the cultures of satisfaction in their former countries of destinations. The Romanian dataset is the only one to be cross-sectional, all other being panel data. Considering all these sources, the paper assesses the supplementary challenges provided by migration. The findings contribute to three streams of literature: migration studies, life satisfaction, and social change theory. Policy implications at macro (social policy) and organization level (human resources policies within companies) are also discussed.