Educational Enrolment, Double-Status Positions and the Transition to Motherhood in Hungary
It is well known that participation in education is incompatible with the transition to motherhood. However, enrolment is overwhelmingly treated as a single status even though participation in education may be combined with employment—resulting in double-status positions, and the fertility implications of double-status positions are less clear-cut. Relying on normative and economic approaches, we develop original and competing hypotheses regarding the effect of double-status positions on the transition to motherhood. We also speculate on how the post-communist transition and institutional context might influence the hypothesised effects. The hypotheses are tested using event history data from the Hungarian Generations and Gender Survey. We employ event history methods, which take into account the potential endogeneity of employment and enrolment decisions. We find robust evidence that first birth rates are higher among women in double-status positions than among women who are merely enrolled, but that difference is smaller in younger cohorts than in older ones. We also find some evidence that first birth rates are lower in double-status positions than among women who are employed but not enrolled. Our findings suggest that the conflict between participation in education and motherhood is mitigated in double-status positions, especially among members of the oldest cohort. Since double status is prevalent in modern societies, but has different meanings in different contexts according to educational system and welfare state, we argue for future research on this issue.
KeywordsFertility Transition to motherhood Education Educational expansion Post-communist fertility
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