Marriage Formation as a Process Intermediary between Migration and Childbearing

By Hoem, Jan M.; Nedoluzhko, Lesia | Demographic Research, January-June 2008 | Go to article overview

Marriage Formation as a Process Intermediary between Migration and Childbearing


Hoem, Jan M., Nedoluzhko, Lesia, Demographic Research


Abstract

In studies of differences in fertility between migrants and non-migrants, marriage interferes because migration can be motivated by an impending marriage or can entail entry into a marriage market with new opportunities. One would therefore expect elevated fertility after migration, although a competing theory states that on the contrary fertility ought to be reduced in the time around the move because migration temporarily disturbs the life of the migrant. In any case marriage appears as a process that is intermediary between migration and childbearing.

To handle such issues it pays to have a technique that allows the analyst to separate any disruptive effects of migration from any boosting effects of marriage in studies of childbearing. The purposes of the present paper are (i) to remind us that such a technique is available, in fact is straightforward, and (ii) to apply the technique to further analyze a set of data on migration and first-time parenthood in Kyrgyzstan recently used by the second author and Gunnar Andersson. The technique has the neat feature that it allows us to operate with several "clocks" at the same time. In the analysis of first births we keep track of time since migration (for migrants) and time since marriage formation (for the married) beside the respondent's age (for women at childbearing ages); in other connections there may be more clocks. For such analyses we make use of a flexible graphical housekeeping device that allows the analyst to keep track of a feature like whether migration occurs before or after marriage, or at the same time. This is a half-century-old flow chart of statuses and transitions and is not much more complex than the famous Lexis diagram, which originated with Gustav Zeuner, as we now know. These reflexions were first presented at a symposium dedicated to Professor Zeuner3.

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

1. Introduction

In a recent study of the impact of internal migration on entry into parenthood in Kyrgyzstan, Nedoluzhko and Andersson (2007) (hereafter called N & A) found that the impact of the recorded cause of migration on a migrant's first-birth hazard was only moderate except when the move was reported to have been made for marriage formation. Migration said to be for work, for study, to move with parents or family, or for some "other" reason, all roughly gave the same subsequent first-birth intensity, ceteris paribus, but people who moved for marriage had over three times as high a risk. (For a non-migrant the risk was around 1 4 higher than for the migrant who moved for some cause other than marriage formation.) When they ran a different model with marital status (married vs. not married) as a time-varying covariate instead of the cause of migration, married individuals turned out to have a first-childbearing risk as much as 30 times as high as unmarried individuals with similar characteristics. We see that marriage was an overwhelming prerequisite for parenthood in the study population. In the present brief paper we argue that one gets a better representation of the dynamics of the behavior if marriage is drawn into the analysis as an individual-level process in its own right and not just handled as a cause of migration or as a time-varying covariate.

To see how this can be done, consider the flow chart in Figure 1, where annotated boxes represent statuses and arrows stand for possible transitions between them. When we number the statuses from 0 to 4, as indicated, the transitions 0! 2 and 1! 3 represent marriage formation before and after migration, respectively, and the transitions 0! 1 and 2! 3 represent migration before and after marriage. The transition 0! 3 represents a simultaneous change on both of these dimensions. Entry into State 4 corresponds to a first birth. For simplicity we only include first marriage and censor observations on marriage disruption. Extension to repeated marriage is straightforward. …

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