RESEARCH

My research revolves around three main lines: (i) Family dynamics of social disadvantage, (ii) residential relocations and housing transitions over the lifecourse, and (iii) labour market inequality and trade unions

Family dynamics of social disadvantage

My recent research investigates contemporary family dynamics and how these relate to social disadvantage, including its accumulation over the life course and its transmission across generations.

Together with Philipp Lersch, Marita Jacob and Karsten Hank, I investigate the reproduction of female life courses across generations. We examine to what extent mothers’ work-family trajectories persist using a within-dyad approach to sequence analysis and combined work-family trajectories between the ages 18 to 35 of two generations of women, born in 1930-1949 and in 1958-1981, within the same family drawn from the German Socio-Economic Panel. Initial evidence suggests small but non-trivial persistence in work-family trajectories across generations, and that this persistence is partly attributed to within-family mechanisms of reproduction. See a work in progress here.

I investigate with Yara Jarallah and Belinda Hewitt the mechanisms that lead to childbearing after marital separation in Australia. Some of our preliminary results indicate that people not only may have children after first marital unions to fulfill parenthood desires and to cement new relationships, but also due to the (often unaccounted) reasons that led them to marital separation in the first place. See a working paper of an earlier research here.

A common trend in contemporary societies is the increasing complexity in partnership trajectories, by which partnerships are less stable and individuals engage in several transitions in and out partnerships over the life course. Together with Nicole Hiekel we ask whether childhood family structure matter for complexity in partnership trajectories in adult life. Defining the dissolution of the first union as the kick-off event for complexity in partnership life courses, we measured the level of complexity deploying a weighted cumulative index of subsequent partnership episodes. The analyses were based on a representative sample of German population born in 1971-73 from the German Family Panel and multivariate hurdle models for the probability of starting a complex trajectory and the level of complexity. Results showed that respondents not growing up with both biological parents followed more complex partnership trajectories beyond the greater likelihood to experience the dissolution of the first union. These associations varied across types and levels of stability of childhood family structures. See a preliminary version of this paper here.

In collaboration with Sara Kalucza and Karina Nielsen, I shed more light to the associations between early family formation and family background by acknowledging family lives as biographically-constructed processes to the study of intergenerational patterns of early family formation. We use a dataset of union and family transitions between ages 14 and 24 derived from Swedish population registers and analyse patterns in joint early family formation trajectories for parents-child dyads. Results of this study will fill gaps in knowledge on the depth of the regularities in parent-child family lives, and the associated determinants. See some earlier results here.

 

Residential relocations and housing transitions over the lifecourse

 

Gender-based inequalities in family migration
One main research focus has been the analysis of gender inequalities that permeate household relocation decisions and outcomes. Compared to men, women cover shorter commuting distances, are less likely to lead long-distance household relocations for a job, and often experience lasting negative impacts on their employment and earnings when following their partners.

In the frame of the DFG-funded project entitled “Gender, Occupations and Family Migration (GOFAM)” (German Research Council, 2014-17), I have revisited this topic investigating structural-level mechanisms (e.g. occupational sex-segregation) and using a cross-national and life course approach.

Some recent outcomes of this research pre-published here show that the employment of female partners depresses couple household relocations across a number of countries. However, in national contexts with high support for female employment and in which gender egalitarian attitudes are the norm, couple household migration is less likely to be constrained by the employment situation of women.

As part of this project, I have edited (together with Johannes Huinink) a journal special issue titled “Spatial mobility, family dynamics, and gender relations” in Demographic ResearchThe issue will be published in 2019.

 

Family events and spatial mobility over the life course
Using four German cohort-based studies, I examine the sequencing of internal migrations with educational, employment, partnership, and parenthood events that unfold during young adulthood in collaboration with Katharina Lutz. We find evidence of increasing complexity in the biographies of internal migrants among recent generations. Our research adds to recent calls for conceptualizing migration as a process and examining long-term biographies in life course studies of migration. See the pre-publication here.

I investigate with Johannes Huinink and Michael Feldhaus how fertility intentions trigger residential relocations. Analyzing German longitudinal data, we find that fertility intentions (and pregnancies) are associated with residential relocations, but these differ by relocation distance and life stage, i.e. parity order and age at birth. The result contributes to the understanding of residential mobility as a by-product of fertility decisions, and more broadly, evidences that intentions matter and need to be considered in the analysis of family life courses. See the pre-publication here.

 

Families and homeownership
In collaboration with Philipp Lersch, I examine the individual homeownership configurations within couples in Britain. Our results indicate that in a small but non-trivial share (ca. ten percent) of couple households only one partner owns the home. This contrasts with long-term held assumptions that both partners own the home. We also find that half of these situations are due to one partner already owning the home before the formation of the couple household. Additionally, transitions into sole homeownership are more likely after divorce, with more economic resources, with step children living in the home, for cohabitants and with shorter union durations. See a press release of the study here.

I am currently involved in an international research team (PI: Hill Kulu) that conducts cross-national and longitudinal research on the associations between union dissolution and residential mobility / housing tenure changes. See some work in progress here and here.

 

Labour market inequality and trade unions

 

Trade union membership in Spain
In collaboration with Pere Jodar, Ramon de Alós, Pere Beneyto and the main union confederation in Spain (Comisiones Obreras), I investigate key dimensions of membership dynamics and individual trajectories (i.e. entries, exits, and duration) using detailed union membership registers. Key results indicate that membership levels remain stable despite recent decrease, but average membership duration is falling and the composition of the membership is changing towards less stable workforce.

See recent results disseminated in two research papers published in scientific journals here and here (in Spanish).

 

Precarious employment
In collaboration with social organizations in Barcelona (Assamblea de Treballadors Aturats de Barcelona and the initiative Eix de Treball de Barcelona en Comú and associated entities) and academics from the Universitat Pompeu Frabra, I investigate precarious employment as a multidimensional phenomenon. To this end, we gathered new evidence within the frame of the project “Giving voice to the unemployed and the precarious people of Barcelona”. We designed and conducted two surveys geared to unemployed people (N= 1404) and workers in Barcelona (N= 1350). The project aims at identify the components and implications of unemployment and precarious employment on a myriad of social processes within and beyond the productive sphere.

Two reports in Spanish are available here (unemploment survey) and here (precarious emploment survey)

 

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