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Preview: European Sociological Review - current issue

European Sociological Review Current Issue





Published: Tue, 05 Sep 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Last Build Date: Fri, 08 Sep 2017 05:44:15 GMT

 



The Expansion of Low-Cost, State-Subsidized Childcare Availability and Mothers’ Return-to-Work Behaviour in East and West Germany

2017-09-05

Abstract
This study investigates whether increased availability of low-cost, state-subsidized childcare for under 3-year-olds in Germany is associated with shorter employment interruptions amongst mothers. By focusing on a major childcare reform in East and West Germany, we examine the effect in two contexts that differ markedly in the acceptance and use of formal childcare and maternal employment. We combine rich longitudinal data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (2006–2014) with annual administrative county-level data on the availability of low-cost, state-subsidized childcare, estimating event history models. The results indicate that increased childcare availability for under 3-year-olds reduces mothers’ employment interruptions, particularly after a second childbirth, and increases the probability of returning to part-time or full-time employment as opposed to marginal employment. Furthermore, increased availability of low-cost, state-subsidized childcare increases mothers’ likelihood of returning to employment in the second year after childbirth, when paid leave entitlements expire and the availability of childcare becomes important. However, our results are only statistically significant for West German mothers and only after the birth of a second child. The study extends the literature on women’s return-to-work behaviour by providing evidence on the medium-term impact of family policy on the duration of mothers’ employment interruptions.



Explaining Differences in the Salience of Religion as a Symbolic Boundary of National Belonging in Europe

2017-09-05

Abstract
This article analyses how differences in the salience of religion as a symbolic boundary of the nation among the majority populations in Europe can be explained. Following previous studies, I consider individual- and country-level characteristics based on theories of social identity and ethnic threat in my analyses to explain the variation. In addition, I include the institutional relationship between church and state and historical manifestations of religious nationalism as additional context conditions, which I assume to influence the salience of religious boundaries among the population. Drawing on data from the International Social Survey Programme, multilevel regression models are applied to data from 28 European countries. The results reveal that affiliation with the dominant religion as well as individual religiosity and perceived ethnic threat influences whether the national community is defined in religious terms. At the country level, historical manifestations of religious nationalism and a close and supportive relation between the state and dominant church increase the salience of religious boundaries of the nation, even when controlling for different levels of secularization. Thus, cultural narratives and institutional settings constitute important frameworks that impact individual definitions of national belonging in times of growing religious diversity and struggles over immigrant integration.



Cross-National Variations in the Security Gap: Perceived Job Insecurity among Temporary and Permanent Employees and Employment Protection Legislation

2017-09-01

Abstract
It is often shown that temporary employees generally perceive their job insecurity to be higher than permanent employees. However, substantial variations in this perceived job security gap exist between countries. This article engages with this knowledge and adds to it by focusing on these country variations and asking what role the strength of employment protection legislation (EPL) has both on the size of the job security gap and in explaining country differences. The developed hypotheses suggest that the two components of EPL—job security provisions, indicating the ‘protection gap’ between permanent and temporary employees as well as specific regulations on the use of temporary contracts—will increase the job security gap. These hypotheses are tested using data from the European Social Survey for 2004 and 2010 and data on employment regulations from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Compared to existing studies, this article offers a more detailed look at the operationalization of job security provisions and regulations on temporary employment—proposing an alternative measurement which is more closely related to the theoretical arguments. By using this more elaborate operationalization, the multilevel model shows that the gap in perceived job security between temporary and permanent employees systematically increases with respect to the two components of EPL.



With an Open Mind: Openness to Experience Moderates the Effect of Interethnic Encounters on Support for Immigration

2017-09-01

Abstract
This article examines whether the effect of interethnic encounters on natives’ attitudes towards immigration varies with the Big Five personality trait openness to experience. We hypothesize that individuals who score high on openness, and who therefore are more appreciative of and responsive to new experiences, react more positively/less negatively to interethnic encounters. We test this conjecture on two surveys collected in Denmark and Canada. In line with our expectations, the analyses suggest that openness positively moderates the effect of interethnic encounters on immigration attitudes: compared to those with lower levels of openness, more open individuals express more pro-immigration attitudes when experiencing both personal interethnic contact and self-reported exposure to ethnic diversity in the neighbourhood.



Division of Childcare in Two-Biological-Parent and Step-Parent Households: Importance of Parental Gender and Type of Partnership

2017-08-25

Abstract
In contrast to previous, single-gender studies on step-parents’ participation in childcare, I use the pooled Generations and Gender Survey to address the following questions: (i) Is there a gender difference in the potential divergence in how childcare is organized in two-biological-parent and step-parent households (i.e. are there larger differences between type-of-mother and type-of-father families)? and (ii) Does the type of partnership (marital/non-marital cohabitation) matter for how childcare is divided in step-parent households and if it does, does it matter more for step-mothers or step-fathers? The findings from the country-level fixed-effect models show that whereas the difference between type-of-father households is negligible, the gap between type-of-mother households is significantly larger, particularly, in non-marital cohabitations. The findings are more pronounced for the division of physical (e.g. taking care of child when sick) than interactive (e.g. helping child with homework) tasks. The proposition is put forward that these findings stem from the higher ambiguity which surrounds the parenting role of step-mothers compared to that of step-fathers.



Fostering Equality of Opportunity? Compulsory Schooling Reform and Social Mobility in Germany

2017-08-23

Abstract
There is an ongoing debate in the field of social mobility research about whether intergenerational social mobility can be increased by way of education policy. However, evidence on the effects of specific education policies on social mobility continues to be scarce. This article analyses the effect of one specific policy reform, the extension of compulsory schooling in Germany, which has been argued to have led to a decrease in educational inequality and an increase in social mobility. Using a difference-in-difference design, the article exploits the variation in the timing of the reform across German states to estimate the reform effect on the educational attainment and labour market chances of individuals from different social class backgrounds. We find that the reform resulted in a substantial narrowing of the gap in educational attainment between different social origin groups. This decline in educational inequality further translated into a reduction in the inequality in labour market chances between people from different social class backgrounds, thus increasing intergenerational social mobility. Our findings suggest that educational policy can lead to substantial increases in intergenerational social mobility, which may have been overlooked in past research on societal-level, long-run trends in social mobility.



Work-related Travel over the Life Course and Its Link to Fertility: A Comparison between Four European Countries

2017-08-23

Abstract
In contemporary societies, travelling intensively to and for work has become an important part in many people’s lives. A life course approach suggests that spatial mobility may, however, conflict with other life domains such as fertility, especially for women. Using longitudinal survey data from France, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland, our study provides novel evidence that the interdependence of fertility and work-related spatial mobility behaviours is largely shaped by national contexts. Based on innovative techniques of sequence analysis, our results indicate that long-term experiences of daily and weekly long-distance commuting and overnight work travel are associated with lower fertility mainly among women in Germany and Switzerland. In France and Spain, the association is weaker or absent. Interestingly, male overnight travellers in Germany and Switzerland show similar tendencies. These men have a comparatively lower fertility than other men, although the cross-national differences are less pronounced than among women. Our study discusses the role of national family policies, social norms, and labour market structures in facilitating or hindering the reconciliation between fertility and work-related spatial mobility.