Union Fertility and Stability in Different Family Settings. A Multiprocess Analysis of Britain

Alessandro Di Nallo

I study the risks of a birth and separation in step-families and families with no prior children. I test whether a birth transition is determined by the ‘parenthood motive’ or by the ‘commitment effect’. Also, I test whether common children stabilize a partnership and whether the pre-union children are associated with higher risk of dissolution. Elements of family complexity, such as presence, number and parentage of step-children, are considered. Using multiprocess models, I model partnership transitions with fertility, allowing for the correlation between the unobserved individual characteristics affecting each process. The analysis is based on Wave 1 of UKHLS of men and women aged 16-45. The findings indicate that the parenthood and the commitment motives influence the transitions to a birth, under different family configurations. Further, the risk of separation is reduced by shared children, while the children from prior unions does not generally increase the risk of dissolution.

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 Presented in Session 4. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions