Educational expansion, social classes and reproductive patterns in low fertility settings: theoretical framework and empirical analysis with use of Polish GGS data

Krzysztof Tymicki, Warsaw School of Economics
Maciej Gdula, University of Warsaw

Fertility decline in eastern European has been accompanied by educational expansion. Decomposition of changes in educational structure of females on competed fertility shows that in most cases fertility would be higher in the absence of educational expansion. This result is consistent with micro level models that usually show negative educational gradient with respect to timing and quantum of fertility. This relation is explained in terms of opportunity costs, labour market performance or normative differences. However, sociologists claim that educational expansion is weakening relationship between level of education, labour market performance and individual values since it is not accompanied by increase in level of social, cultural and economic capital. Therefore, the main goal of the analysis is to find out whether social class might serve as better predictor of differences in reproductive and normative patterns as compared to level of education. We apply Pierre Bourdieu’s social class theory since it refers to reproductive strategies, which are considered to be manifestation of class specific norms, behaviours and attitudes. Individuals are ascribed to social classes by level of economic, social and cultural capital. In our opinion this makes social class better predictor in models aimed at exploration of reproductive and normative patterns. We construct social classes with use of employment histories based on ISCO-08 codes collected in Polish GGS survey. Statistical models include “demographic outcomes” (parity, fertility intentions) and “normative outcomes” (attitudes towards gender roles and reproduction). Results show that social class performs as well as level of education with respect to “demographic outcomes” but social class seems to be a better explanatory variable in case of “normative outcomes”. Overall we conclude that educational expansion led to changes in quantum and tempo of reproduction but it has only limited effect on change with respect to perceived norms and values.

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Presented in Session 94: Education and fertility 3