Jobs, careers, and becoming a parent under state socialist and free market conditions: the case of Estonia

Sunnee Billingsley, Stockholm University
Luule Sakkeus, Tallinn University
Allan Puur, Estonian Interuniversity Population Research Centre

The pre-conditions for childbearing were hypothesized in regards to norms prevailing in free market economies and the extent to which they are relevant in a communist or transitional context has yet to be fully explored. We compare the influence of job acquisition, while continuing or after completing education, on family formation in two distinct time periods—before Estonia’s independence from the Soviet Union and after 1991. In Estonia and many other transitional countries, postponement occurred when there was a significant loss of employment opportunities, increasing the complexity of the relationship between family formation and employment. We employ the Estonian Health Interview Survey (2006) and event history analyses. First results unexpectedly show a stronger relationship between job acquisition and becoming a parent before 1991. This relationship varies across educational groups and migrant status.

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Presented in Session 12: Thematic session: Social policy effects on family behavior

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