Children as barriers to repartnering in different national contexts

Katya Ivanova, Tilburg University
Matthijs Kalmijn, Tilburg University
Wilfred Uunk, Tilburg University

Many studies in the past have found that having children from a previous union is a barrier to women’s chances to repartner. Most of these studies are old, however, and little is known about whether or not this effect is stable across different national contexts. This paper re-examines the effects of children from a previous union on repartnering chances of men and women using recently collected life history data from the Generations and Gender Survey (GGS). Our first research questions focus on the micro level: (1) To what extent do men and women differ in repartnering chances? (2) To what extent does the presence of children affect repartnering? (3) To what extent can the gender gap in repartnering be explained by women’s greater share in child custody after divorce? (4) To what extent does the children effect on repartnering differ between men and women? Our second goal is to explore country similarities and differences in the effects of children on repartnering. We focus on five countries which vary in the opportunities that mothers have on the labor market as well as in the degree to which divorce is common and accepted. The countries are: France, Norway, the Netherlands, Romania, and Russia. We examine whether the effects of children on women’s repartnering are less negative in countries where divorce is more accepted and where (single) women with children have good opportunities on the labor market.

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Presented in Session 63: Life course