Educational Differentials in the Impact of Micro- and Macro-Level Economic Conditions on Union Formation in France (1993-2008)

By Jorik Vergauwen, Karel Neels, Jonas Wood

Delayed union formation has been suggested as one of the main pathways through which economic conditions affect fertility. The link between (un)employment and union formation has received limited attention in the literature, however. Using longitudinal micro-data from the first and second waves of the Generations and Gender Survey, in tandem with contextual data on unemployment rates, multilevel discrete-time hazard models are estimated to assess how individual employment status and aggregate-level economic conditions have affected entry into a first co-residential union of young adults in France (1993-2008). We focus on whether the association between individual-level employment status and aggregate-level unemployment rates on the one hand, and union formation on the other, differs by gender and level of education. For men, we find that not being employed reduces the probability of entering a co-residential union, whatever their level of education. Among women, not being employed delays union formation only for those with tertiary education. A higher aggregate-level unemployment rate negatively affects the probability of entering a co-residential union among tertiary educated men, but no association is found among women.


  • union formation
  • education
  • employment
  • economic context
  • France
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