Understanding the education gap in immigration preferences across countries over time: A decomposition approach

The structure and dynamics of the education gap in immigration preferences are not well understood. Does the gap increase when the economy contracts? To what extent does the gap reflect labour market conflicts versus value polarization? Does the structure of the gap change with labour market and refugee shocks? I use European Social Survey data to decompose the gap into parts reflecting labour market position, social background, and value orientation, and explore how their importance in accounting for the gap change over time. I find no uniform trends in preferences or in the size of the gap, but the gap varies with the unemployment rate and the strength of trade unions. Moreover, positions in the labour market are more important for the gap in times of high unemployment, at the expense of the importance of value orientations. The results show the enduring importance of labour market conflicts for the gap.

Association of Preterm Birth and Low Birth Weight With Romantic Partnership, Sexual Intercourse, and Parenthood in Adulthood: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Question Are adults who were born preterm or with low birth weight less likely to experience social transitions normative of adulthood, such as romantic partnerships, sexual intercourse, or parenthood?
Findings In this systematic review and meta-analysis of 21 studies describing up to 4.4 million participants, adults who were born preterm or with low birth weight were less likely to experience a romantic partnership, sexual intercourse, or parenthood than their peers who were born full-term. The likelihood of experiencing these social transitions decreased with lower gestational age and birth weight, and was similar in both young and middle adulthood.
Meaning The findings suggest that adults who were born preterm or with low birth weight are less likely to have sexual or partner relationships than adults born full-term, which might put them at increased risk of decreased well-being and poorer physical and mental health.

Is Social Inequality in Cognitive Outcomes Increased by Preterm Birth–Related Complications?

Dieter Wolke writes in an editorial about the relationship between maternal socioeconomic status and children’s cognitive outcomes among preterm children. He re-emphasizes what was emphasized already 40 years ago – the need to study the effect of family, social, and caretaking as risk factors in developmental outcomes among children born at high neonatal risk.

Wages, Experience and Training of Women over the Lifecycle


We investigate the role of training in reducing the gender wage gap using the UK-BHPS which contains detailed records of training. Using policy changes over an 18 year period we identify the impact of training and work experience on wages, earnings and employment. Based on a lifecycle model and using reforms as a source of exogenous variation we evaluate the role of formal training and experience in defining the evolution of wages and employment careers, conditional on education. Training is potentially important in compensating for the effects of children, especially for women who left education after completing high school.

The UK government LGBT Action Plan: Discourses of progress, enduring stasis, and LGBTQI+ lives ‘getting better’

The LGBT Action Plan (2018) represents a significant UK government commitment towards LGBTQI+ equalities, operating in conjunction with cumulative legislative advances. Yet there is room for critique within this Plan, as proposed actions and as celebratory rhetoric of lives ‘getting better’. Using empirical examples, this article examines how ‘progress’ for LGBTQI+ lives is discursively constructed and positioned in the LGBT Action Plan and accompanying politicians’ speeches. We examine the key constructions of progress – across time, place, lifecourses, and normative thresholds – within which LGBTQI+ rights and realities are framed. We draw upon queer theory to illuminate discursive normativities and silences in representing ‘policy problems’ (Bacchi, 2009). While some policy areas are celebrated as signifiers of ‘coming forward’, others are relegated to the too tough in-tray, suspended in enduring stasis. Opposing ‘political time’ with ‘queer time’, this article concludes with the policy challenges posed by intersectional (in)equalities in these ‘new times’.

Family Life Courses, Gender, and Mid-Life Earnings

There is a long-standing debate on whether extensive Nordic family policies have the intended equalizing effect on family and gender differences in economic outcomes. This article compares how the combination of family events across the life course is associated with annual and accumulated earnings at mid-life for men and women in an egalitarian Nordic welfare state. Based on Finnish register data (N = 12,951), we identify seven typical family life courses from ages 18 to 39 and link them to mid-life earnings using sequence and cluster analysis and regression methods. Earnings are highest for the most normative family life courses that combine stable marriage with two or more children for men and women. Mid-life earnings are lowest for unpartnered mothers and never-partnered childless men. Earnings gaps by family lives are small among women but sizeable among men. Gender disparities in earnings are remarkably high, particularly between men and women with normative family lives. These gaps between married mothers and married fathers remain invisible when looking only at motherhood penalties. Results further highlight a large group of (almost) never-partnered childless men with low earnings who went largely unnoticed in previous research.

Aleksi Karhula wins the 2019 ALCR Young Scholar Award

DIAL congratulates PhD Aleksi Karhula for winning the 2019 Advances in Life Course Research Young Scholar Award with his paper:

Karhula, A., Erola, J., Raab, M. & Fasang, A. 2019. Destination as a process: Sibling similarity in early socioeconomic trajectories. Advances in Life Course Research, 40: 85-98.

Karhula and his colleagues studied sibling similarity in their early socioeconomic trajectories. A  pronounced similarity in the early socioeconomic trajectories was found, in particular in disadvantaged and advantaged trajectories. The study concludes that social mobility measures that focus solely on final outcomes risk underestimating the full extent of the social origin effects.

You can read the paper here!

Rent Sharing and Inclusive Growth


The long-run evolution of rent sharing is studied. Based upon a comprehensive and harmonized panel of the top 300 publicly quoted British companies over thirty-five years, the paper reports evidence of a significant fall over time in the extent to which firms share rents with workers. It confirms that companies do share their profits with employees, but at a much smaller scale today than they did during the 1980s and 1990s. This is a robust finding, corroborated with industry-level analysis for the US and EU. The temporal decline in rent sharing is coincident with rising product market power. Whilst it was the case that firms with more market power previously shared more of their profits, they experienced stronger falls in rent sharing after 2000.

Between Communism and Capitalism: Long-term Inequality in Poland, 1892-2015


How has Polish inequality evolved between communism and capitalism to reach one of the highest levels in Europe today? To address this question, we construct the first consistent series on the long-term distribution of income in Poland by combining tax, household survey and national accounts data. We document a U-shaped evolution of inequalities from the end of the 19th century until today: (i) inequality was high before WWII; (ii) abruptly fell after the introduction of communism in 1947 and stagnated at low levels during the whole communist period; (iii) experienced a sharp rise with the return to capitalism in 1989. Between 1989 and 2015 the top 10% income share increased from 23% to 35% and the top 1% income share from 4% to 13%. We find that official survey-based measures strongly under-estimate the rise of inequality since 1989. Our new estimates show that frequently quoted Poland’s transition success has largely benefited top income groups.

We find that inequality was high in the first half of the 20th century due to a strong concentration of capital income at the top of the distribution. The secular fall after WW2 was largely to a combination of capital income shocks from war destructions with communist policies both eliminating private ownership and forcing wage compression. The rise of inequality after the return to capitalism in the early 1990s was induced both by the rise of top labour and capital incomes. However, the strong rise in inequality in the 2000s was driven solely by the increase in top capital incomes, which is likely related to current globalization forces. Yet overall, the unique Polish inequality history speaks about the central role of policies and institutions in shaping inequality in the long run.

Divorce and Diverging Poverty Rates: A Risk‐and‐Vulnerability Approach

This study offers a new approach to analyzing life course inequalities and applies it to the link between divorce and poverty.

Previous research has suggested that divorce drives cumulative inequality between education groups during the life course. Two pathways play a role in this process: the educational gradient in the risk of divorce and the educational gradient in economic vulnerability to divorce. Both pathways should be studied simultaneously to understand how divorce drives inequality.

The authors used administrative data from the Netherlands, following the marriage cohorts 2003 to 2005 (N = 179,018) during a period of 10 years. Decomposition analyses estimated the contributions of the gradients in divorce risk and vulnerability to poverty differences during the life course.

In the 10 years following marriage, the fraction of the educational difference in poverty explained by divorce was 12% in the overall population and 26% in mothers. Among childless men and women, divorce increased poverty differences due mainly to greater economic vulnerability of the lower educated. Among mothers, divorce increased poverty differences due to both higher risk and greater vulnerability of the lower educated. Among fathers, divorce was unrelated to poverty.

Divorce is a major driver of cumulative inequality during the life course.

Dynamics of Inequality Across the Life-course (DIAL) is a multi-disciplinary research programme consisting of thirteen European projects. The projects examine the sources, structures and consequences of inequalities in contemporary societies. The programme is funded by NORFACE for the period 2017–2021.

EU flag shown in acknowledgment of EU funding

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 724363

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