In many countries, including the UK, unemployment is associated with earlier entries into motherhood. But the implications of male unemployment are not straightforward.
A new paper by Hande Inanc (Nuffield College, University of Oxford
) addresses this issue by investigating transition to first births in relation to unemployment experience as moderated by partnership status. It also examines the effects of both partners' employment statuses on transition into parenthood, focusing on the joint labour market status of cohabiting and married couples.
The results show, that unemployment leads to earlier entries into parenthood for both men and women. However, its impact differs according to the relationship status in which it is experienced. Unemployed men who cohabit and unemployed women who are single have a higher probability of becoming parents.
Among married individuals the timing of parenthood is determined largely by the labour market status of the female partner.
Therefore, neoclassical family models seem to determine parenthood timing among married individuals, whereas early parenthood among non-married individuals can be explained by an uncertainty reduction strategy or discouragement from marriage.