Educational heterogamy and the division of paid labour in the family: a comparison of present-day Belgium and Sweden

Mieke C. W. Eeckhaut, Ghent University
Maria A. Stanfors, Lund University
Bart Van de Putte, Ghent University

Building on the growing importance of partner effects in stratification research, this study adopts a couple perspective on the division of paid labour in the family. It considers the role of educational heterogamy, and takes account of the family life cycle by means of the presence of (young) children. The importance of these two factors for women’s relative labour market participation is compared between Belgium and Sweden – two European countries that share socio-economic features but differ regarding labour market and social policies. Multinomial logistic Diagonal Reference Models are used to analyse the pooled cross-sectional data of the EU-SILC 2004-2008. Our results show that women’s relative labour market participation is less education-driven in Sweden than in Belgium, and it is more related to the couple effect of educational heterogamy and the life cycle effect of the presence of (young) children, confirming more egalitarianism and family friendliness in Scandinavia than in continental Europe.

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Presented in Session 9: Educational choices and consequences