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Härkönen, Lappalainen & Jalovaara: The deterioration of Finnish single mothers’ employment, 1987-2011

Juho Härkönen, Eevi Lappalainen & Marika Jalovaara: The deterioration of Finnish single mothers’ employment, 1987-2011: A decomposition analysis. Presentation at TITA WP2 seminar 21.4.2016.

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Härkönen, Lappalainen & Jalovaara: The deterioration of Finnish single mothers’ employment, 1987-2011

  1. 1. The deterioration of Finnish single mothers’ employment, 1987-2011: A decomposition analysis JUHO HÄRKÖNEN*†, EEVI LAPPALAINEN**, MARIKA JALOVAARA†* * STOCKHOLM UNIVERSITY ** STATISTICS FINLAND † UNIVERSITY OF TURKU
  2. 2. Introduction • Single parents • Significant minority (Finland ~20% of families with children) • Vast majority are women • In Finland, typically single parents as a consequence of separation (more rarely from non-union childbearing) •Experience more unemployment and other economic hardships than partnered parents (Kjeldstad & Rønsen 2004; Stewart 2009; Wu & Eamon 2011) •Single motherhood increasingly associated with low education
  3. 3. 50 60 70 80 90 100 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 % Figure 1. Employment rates (%) for single and partnered mothers, 1987–2011 Partnered mothers Single mothers
  4. 4. Introduction • This paper examines the composition of the differences in single and partnered mothers’ employment in Finland in 1987–2011 • Research questions: 1. Do changes in educational background, age, and age of the youngest child explain why single mothers’ employment rates declined relative to partnered mothers? 2. Do the development of employment rates among educational and age groups, and by the age of the youngest child explain these differences?
  5. 5. Characteristics of Finnish labor market and family policies • High (structural) unemployment since 1990s’ economic depression • Nordic family policy regime (Esping-Andersen 1999): generous parental leaves, subsidized child care, individualized taxation • A strong two-earner model • Part-time work is relatively rarely used as a means of combining paid employment and family life • Families with 0–2-year-old children are entitled to child home-care allowance (extended to all families with under three-year-old children in early 1990s)
  6. 6. Data • Register-based dataset: 10 % random sample of persons born between 1940–1995 who were in the Finnish population on any year between 1987 and 2011 • Study sample • 18–49-year-old women • Born in Finland • Have 1–17-year-old resident children • 1,302,680 person-years • Single mother: has resident children, no cohabiting, married or registered (same-sex) partner
  7. 7. Variables Dependent variable • Economic activity dummy: employed vs. not employed Independent variables • Union status dummy: single vs. partnered • Age: 18–29, 30–39, 40–49 • Age of youngest resident child: 1–2, 3–6, 7–17 • Education: basic, secondary, low tertiary, high tertiary Time • Variables are measured at the end of each year • Years are divided into 7 periods according to macroeconomic trends (3–4 years)
  8. 8. Statistical methods • Multi-factor decomposition of differences (Das Gupta 1993, Chevan & Sutherland 2009) • Decomposition by each category of each variable • Variables: age, education, children’s age • Seven decompositions: decomposition of employment differences between partnered and single mothers for each time period
  9. 9. Descriptive results
  10. 10. 0 10 20 30 40 50 87–90 91–93 94–96 97–00 01–04 05–08 09–11 Partnered mothers Basic Secondary L. tertiary H. tertiary 0 10 20 30 40 50 87–90 91–93 94–96 97–00 01–04 05–08 09–11 Single mothers Basic Secondary L. tertiary H. tertiary Educational composition 1987–2011: basic and secondary education, %
  11. 11. 0 10 20 30 40 50 87–90 91–93 94–96 97–00 01–04 05–08 09–11 Partnered mothers Basic Secondary L. tertiary H. tertiary 0 10 20 30 40 50 87–90 91–93 94–96 97–00 01–04 05–08 09–11 Single mothers Basic Secondary L. tertiary H. tertiary Educational composition 1987–2011: low and high tertiary education, %
  12. 12. 0 20 40 60 80 100 87–90 91–93 94–96 97–00 01–04 05–08 09–11 Partnered mothers 18–29 30–39 40–49 0 20 40 60 80 100 87–90 91–93 94–96 97–00 01–04 05–08 09–11 Single mothers 18–29 30–39 40–49 Employment by age 1987–2011, %
  13. 13. 0 20 40 60 80 100 87–90 91–93 94–96 97–00 01–04 05–08 09–11 Partnered mothers Basic Secondary L. tertiary H. tertiary 0 20 40 60 80 100 87–90 91–93 94–96 97–00 01–04 05–08 09–11 Partnered mothers Basic Secondary L. tertiary H. tertiary Employment by education 1987–2011: basic and secondary education, % Single mothers
  14. 14. 0 20 40 60 80 100 87–90 91–93 94–96 97–00 01–04 05–08 09–11 Partnered mothers Basic Secondary L. tertiary H. tertiary 0 20 40 60 80 100 87–90 91–93 94–96 97–00 01–04 05–08 09–11 Single mothers Basic Secondary L. tertiary H. tertiary Employment by education 1987–2011: low and high tertiary education, %
  15. 15. 0 20 40 60 80 100 87–90 91–93 94–96 97–00 01–04 05–08 09–11 Partnered mothers 1–2 3–6 7–17 0 20 40 60 80 100 87–90 91–93 94–96 97–00 01–04 05–08 09–11 Single mothers 1–2 3–6 7–17 Employment by youngest child’s age 1987–2011, %
  16. 16. Decomposition results
  17. 17. -2 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 Crude penalty 87–90 91–93 94–96 97–00 01–04 05–08 09–11 The crude difference in partnered and single mothers’ employment (%) Crude penalty = composition effects + rate effects
  18. 18. -2 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 Crude penalty Composition effects 87–90 91–93 94–96 97–00 01–04 05–08 09–11 …contribution of composition effects (%)… Crude penalty = composition effects + rate effects
  19. 19. -2 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 Crude penalty Composition effects Rate effects 87–90 91–93 94–96 97–00 01–04 05–08 09–11 …and contribution of composition and rate effects (%) Crude penalty = composition effects + rate effects
  20. 20. -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5 Total 87–90 91–93 94–96 97–00 01–04 05–08 09–11 A closer look at composition effects (%) Total composition effect = Σ (variable composition effects)
  21. 21. -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5 Total Age 87–90 91–93 94–96 97–00 01–04 05–08 09–11 A closer look at composition effects: age (%) Total composition effect = Σ (variable composition effects)
  22. 22. -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5 Total Age Education 87–90 91–93 94–96 97–00 01–04 05–08 09–11 A closer look at composition effects: age and education (%) Total composition effect = Σ (variable composition effects)
  23. 23. -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5 Total Age Education Age of child 87–90 91–93 94–96 97–00 01–04 05–08 09–11 A closer look at composition effects: age, education and age of youngest child (%) Total composition effect = Σ (variable composition effects)
  24. 24. -0,2 0,3 0,8 1,3 1,8 18–29 30–39 40–49 87–90 91–93 94–96 97–00 01–04 05–08 09–11 Rate category effects: age (%) Total rate effect = Σ (rate category effects)
  25. 25. -0,2 0,3 0,8 1,3 1,8 Compulsory Secondary Low tertiary High tertiary 87–90 91–93 94–96 97–00 01–04 05–08 09–11 Rate category effects: education (%) Total rate effect = Σ (rate category effects)
  26. 26. -0,2 0,3 0,8 1,3 1,8 1-2 3-6 7-17 87–90 91–93 94–96 97–00 01–04 05–08 09–11 Rate category effects: age of youngest child (%) Total rate effect = Σ (rate category effects)
  27. 27. Conclusions • Single mothers have an employment disadvantage in almost all age, educational, and children’s age categories • The importance of compositional differences—and of educational backgrounds especially—has become more important •Weak educational profile of single mothers is increasingly linked to low employment
  28. 28. Conclusions •Educational selection to and from single motherhood? •Low education jobs may be difficult to combine with single motherhood •”Diverging destinies” trend (McLanahan 2004) exists in Nordic welfare states as well •Family structure can be a mechanism for the reproduction of class and gender inequalities (McLanahan & Percheski 2008) •Overall economic inequality is on the rise in Finland; rising prevalence of single parenthood and growing inequality between single and partnered parents may play a role
  29. 29. 50 60 70 80 90 100 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 % Figure 1. Employment rates (%) for single and partnered mothers, 1987–2011 Partnered mothers Single mothers A project funded by: • Academy of Finland (decision number 275030) • FORTE (Dnr. 2010-0381) • European Union's Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement no. 320116 Tackling Inequalities in Time of Austerity

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