Employment Uncertainty and Family Formation over the Life Course

Danilo Bolano , Bocconi University
Daniele Vignoli, University of Florence

Empirical evidence on the nexus between economic uncertainty and family formation remains inconclusive. We look at the effect of job uncertainty on two phases of family formation: entrance in a union and childbearing. Using longitudinal detailed information on type of contract (structural objective measure of uncertainty) and perceive uncertainty (subjective measures) about the future we are able to look in details at the heterogeneous group of precarious workers. Preliminary results support the hypothesis that objective measures alone give only a partial and perhaps inaccurate perspective. Selection into union is observed according to the level of subjective uncertainty. The relationship between uncertainty and family formation seems to be nonlinear. In case of very low or very high uncertainty, individuals tend to invest their resources in family formation, probably discouraged by the situation in the labor market. While there is an ambiguous position on the labor market, the union formation is postponed.

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 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session Fertility, Family and the Life Course