Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Institute for Futures Studies

No 2005:13: Childbearing and psycho-social work life conditions in Sweden 1991-2000

Sara Ström
Additional contact information
Sara Ström: Institute for Futures Studies, Postal: Box 591, SE-101 31 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: In Sweden, a dramatic fall in fertility coincided with recession and high unemployment during the 1990s. Recent research has shown that the precarious labor market has been one factor contributing to women postponing family formation. Studies have also shown that during the 1990s, the degree of negative psycho-social stress in work life increased in certain trades (care and education, and commerce) which are dominated by female employees. In the present paper, I focus on the interaction between psycho-social work conditions as defined by Robert Karasek and the likelihood of childbearing. As data material, the Swedish Level of Living Surveys of 1991 and 2000 are used. The research questions are: (1) Does job strain affect the likelihood of having the first, second and third child? Are there any differences between women and men? (2) Are there any differences in the likelihood of having children between individuals employed in trades characterized by high levels of jobs strain vs low levels of job strain? Are there any differences between men and women? The results indicate that women working in high-strain jobs have a lower likelihood of having the first child compared with women working in low-strain jobs, even when several important factors are controlled for. No significant associations between job strain and the timing of the second and third child are found for women. For men, no significant associations between job strain and the births of children are found, at least not when relevant controls are made. Analyses of childbearing and trade indicate that women working in commerce are more likely to have their first child compared with women working in manufacturing. For men, the results indicated that those working in public service are more likely to enter fatherhood compared with men working in manufacturing.

Keywords: childbearing; psycho-social work life conditions; fertility - recession

JEL-codes: J13

27 pages, June 2005

Price: 25 SEK

Note: ISSN 1652-120X ISBN 91-89655-71-0

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