Family dynamics of social disadvantage

Some of my new research investigates the contemporary family dynamics and their links to the transmission and accumulation of social disadvantage.

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 reproductions.

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. A presentation of preliminary results can be consulted 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 an extended abstract here.


Gender- and family-based inequalities in residential relocations and housing transitions


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 Research. The 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.


Labour market dynamics 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 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 results disseminated in two comprehensive reports in Spanish and Catalan that the labour union has made publicly available here and here, and a research paper recently published in a scientific journal here (in Spanish).


Precarious employment conditions
In collaboration with social organizations in Barcelona (Assamblea d’Aturats) 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 a survey geared to workers in Barcelona (N= 1350 workers). The project aims at identify the components and implications of precarious employment on a myriad of social processes within and beyond the productive sphere.