Gendered life courses and cognitive functioning in later life : the role of context-specific gender norms and lifetime employment
2023-03-30, Bertogg, Ariane, Leist, Anja K.
With increasing life expectancy, dementia poses an epidemiological challenge. As a cure has not been developed, the investigation into preventive factors becomes pivotal. Previous research emphasizes the cognitively stimulating and socio-emotional benefits of lifetime employment, but research on heterogeneous patterns across social groups and societal contexts remains sparse. Sociological approaches have a promising potential to provide insights into health inequalities and can contribute to the study of this major societal challenge. We investigate the influence of previous employment biographies on cognitive functioning for men and women aged 50 to 75 in 19 European countries, using longitudinal and retrospective information from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe. We link individual information on employment biographies and cognitive functioning to contextual measures of gender norms, using aggregated agreement rates to both men’s and women’s role in employment and family. We find that previous employment affects cognitive functioning men and women differently. Part-time employment is beneficial for women’s cognitive functioning, but not for men’s. Traditional gender norms are associated with lower levels of cognitive functioning for both genders and moderate the linkage between previous employment and cognitive functioning. In contexts with more traditional gender norms, men’s part-time employment is associated with lower and women’s part-time employment with higher cognitive functioning. We conclude that employment and non-employment participation can, depending on characteristics of individuals and contexts, benefit or hinder the life-course accumulation of cognitive reserve, and those with norm-deviating behaviour are disadvantaged.
Protected through Part-time Employment? : Labor Market Status, Domestic Responsibilities, and the Life Satisfaction of German Women during the COVID-19 Pandemic
2022, Bertogg, Ariane, Kulic, Nevena, Strauß, Susanne
The COVID-19 lockdown measures have challenged individuals to reconcile employment, childcare, and housework. This article addresses whether these challenges have reduced life satisfaction among German women by focusing on their labor market status and drawing upon a topical online survey (Kantar) collected in Germany at two points in time: May 2020 and November 2020. We find that part-time employed women were better protected against a decline in life satisfaction, but only during the first lockdown. Economically inactive women were most likely to experience a decline in life satisfaction during the first lockdown, but least likely during the second lockdown. Life satisfaction has further decreased between the first and the second lockdown, and the likelihood of a decrease has converged for full-time, part-time, and economically inactive women.
Gender Discrimination in the Hiring of Skilled Professionals in Two Male-Dominated Occupational Fields : A Factorial Survey Experiment with Real-World Vacancies and Recruiters in Four European Countries
2020-09, Bertogg, Ariane, Imdorf, Christian, Hyggen, Christer, Parsanoglou, Dimitris, Stoilova, Rumiana
The present article investigates gender discrimination in recruitment for two male-dominated occupations (mechanics and IT professionals). We empirically test two different explanatory approaches to gender discrimination in hiring; namely, statistical discrimination and taste-based discrimination. Previous studies suggest that, besides job applicants’ characteristics, organisational features play a role in hiring decisions. Our article contributes to the literature on gender discrimination in the labour market by investigating its opportunity structures located at the recruiter, job and company level, and how gender discrimination varies across occupations and countries.
The analysed data come from a factorial survey experiment conducted in four countries (Bulgaria, Greece, Norway and Switzerland). Real job advertisements were sampled, and the recruiters in charge of hiring for these positions (n = 1,920) rated up to ten hypothetical CVs (vignettes). We find gender discrimination in Bulgaria and Greece and to a lesser degree in Switzerland, but not in Norway. The degree of gender discrimination appears to be greater in mechanics than in IT. Multivariate analyses that test a number of opportunity structures for discrimination suggest that mechanisms of statistical discrimination rather than those of taste-based discrimination might be at work.
Needs or obligations? : the influence of childcare infrastructure and support norms on grandparents’ labour market participation
2023, Bertogg, Ariane
This study investigates how institutional and normative characteristics affect grandparents’ labour market participation. Previous studies indicate that providing regular grandchild care reduces labour market participation, and this linkage varies between European welfare states. Yet the underlying mechanisms remain unclear, and no study has systematically disentangled cultural from institutional influence when investigating grandparents’ work–care reconciliation. Based on two mechanisms, needs and obligations, we investigate how (grandparental) support norms and childcare infrastructure jointly shape the labour market participation of active grandparents. We use six waves from the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), investigating variation across 91 subnational regions in 18 countries. The results indicate that the regular provision of grandchild care increases the risk of exiting the labour market for both men and women. This linkage is stronger in contexts with stronger support norms, but also depends on the childcare infrastructure in contexts where norms are weaker.
The Making and Breaking of Social Ties During the Pandemic : Socio-Economic Position, Demographic Characteristics, and Changes in Social Networks
2022, Bertogg, Ariane, Koos, Sebastian
Contact restrictions and distancing measures are among the most effective non-pharmaceutical measures to stop the spread of the SARS-CoV2 virus. Yet, research has only begun to understand the wider social consequences of these interventions. This study investigates how individuals' social networks have changed since the outbreak of the pandemic and how this is related to individuals' socio-economic positions and their socio-demographic characteristics. Based on a large quota sample of the German adult population, we investigate the loss and gain of strong and weak social ties during the pandemic. While about one third of respondents reported losing of contact with acquaintances, every fourth person has lost contact to a friend. Forming new social ties occurs less frequently. Only 10-15% report having made new acquaintances (15%) or friends (10%) during the pandemic. Overall, more than half of our respondents did not report any change, however. Changes in social networks are linked to both socio-demographic and socio-economic characteristics, such as age, gender, education, and migration background, providing key insights into a yet underexplored dimension of pandemic-related social inequality.
Socio-economic position and local solidarity in times of crisis : the COVID-19 pandemic and the emergence of informal helping arrangements in Germany
2021, Bertogg, Ariane, Koos, Sebastian
In this article we study the emergence of local solidarity in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis in Germany. The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown measures have had far-reaching and quite diverse consequences for different social groups, and have increased the need for practical help, childcare, financial aid, but also emotional support to cope with the psychological consequences of social isolation. Hence, even individuals who are not traditionally receivers of informal help have suddenly become dependent on it. Existing research on volunteering, caregiving and donations has shown that the provision of help and volunteer work has a social gradient, and that social inequalities therein can partly be explained by reference to individuals’ attitudes and social networks. Against this backdrop, we ask: (1) Has the COVID-19 pandemic sparked the emergence of a new local solidarity? (2) What types of help are provided, and to whom? (3) How does socio-economic position affect the provision of different forms of help during the COVID-19 crisis? (4) Which sociological mechanisms can explain these inequalities in helping? Using data from a topical online-survey based on a quota sample which was collected, during the heydays of the first lockdown in Germany, we find that one of two respondents engages in some sort of local solidarity. Depending on the recipient and the way of helping – up to half of these helping arrangements has newly emerged and does not build on already existing (pre-crisis) help-arrangements. Differences between income and educational groups can mostly be explained by attitudes and social networks. Embeddedness in formal networks is particularly important for extending help to previously unknown recipients in the community. This article contributes to the literature on the social origins of help and the initiation of social capital during crises in general, and the political discussion about solidarity in the COVID-19 pandemic in particular.
Who Received Informal Social Support During the First COVID-19 Lockdown in Germany, and Who Did Not? : The Role of Social Networks, Life Course and Pandemic-Specific Risks
2022-09, Bertogg, Ariane, Koos, Sebastian
In this article, we study the receipt of informal support during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany. The containment measures have had various, far-reaching consequences for the wellbeing of people, creating demands for economic, practical, and emotional support-even among individuals who hitherto were not in need of support. Existing research has shown substantial levels of informal support during the pandemic, often based on individuals' existing social networks, but has predominantly taken the perspective of donors. In this article, we focus on the "demand" or recipient "side" of informal support, and ask: (1) Who receives which type of informal social support during the pandemic? (2) Who reports unmet need? (3) Which factors explain support receipt, unmet need and the type of support received? To explain patterns of receiving social support, we identify "classic" life course and "new" pandemic-specific risks and complement this perspective with individuals' support potentials from their social networks. Empirically, we use data from an online survey, collected among a quota sample of the German population (n = 4,496) at the end of the first lockdown in late spring 2020. Our analysis shows that one in six respondents received social support, while only 3% report unmet need. Practical and emotional support are most widespread. Using logistic and multinomial logistic regression models our results show that social support in general and the type of support received can be explained by life course and pandemic risks, while unmet need is mainly a consequence of social network structure.
Partnership and Cognitive Aging in Europe : Mediating Factors and Social Stratification
2021-06-14, Bertogg, Ariane, Leist, Anja K.
Living in a partnership has been shown to benefit later life health in general and decrease the risk of cognitive impairment. Few studies have, however, examined whether different types of partnership transitions also differ with respect to their impact on cognitive trajectories, and whether financial resources, healthy behaviors, cognitive stimulation, and social integration can explain these differences.
Data came from six waves of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, which is a representative panel for the population aged 50 years or older, and were collected between 2004 and 2017 in 20 European countries. Our sample includes 215,989 valid person-year observations from 78,984 persons. The mean age at baseline is 64 years, and individuals were observed on average 2.7 times. Cognitive functioning was assessed with measures of immediate and delayed recall on a memory test and verbal fluency. Fixed effects regression models were employed to exploit individual-level variation in partnership and simultaneous cognitive changes.
Partnership status was stable in most respondents (around 90%). Compared to remaining partnered and after controlling for sociodemographic factors, transition to divorce was associated with a steeper decline in immediate and delayed recall. Exploring possible mechanisms, both financial resources and social integration, explained these differences. Additional analyses suggested that effects were mostly driven by individuals with lower education.
Partnership transitions remain infrequent events in later life, but our findings indicate that they can induce less favorable cognitive trajectories compared to partnered individuals, particularly for those with lower cognitive reserve.
Linked lives, linked retirement? Relative income differences within couples and gendered retirement decisions in Europe
2021, Bertogg, Ariane, Strauß, Susanne, Vandecasteele, Leen
Our article investigates the role of relative income distributions within couples for individuals’ retirement risks. It addresses the following questions: How does the share someone provides to the couple income affect that person’s retirement decision? What gender differences do we observe and what contextual factors can explain country differences? Our multilevel analyses draw on data from the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) study (2010–2016), comparing 26 countries. The results show that female main earners transition to retirement earlier than female secondary earners as they approach the official retirement age. This effect is even stronger in countries with more traditional gender norms. The opposite pattern is found for men, whereby male secondary earners retire earlier than male main earners in more gender traditional societies. We explain this finding on the basis of doing gender theories, which predict that gender-atypical behaviour in one area of life is compensated by traditional gender behaviour in other areas, especially in contexts with traditional gender norms. A further finding relates to the generosity of the country’s pension replacement rate, which shows to be a factor facilitating retirement especially for those with an equal earning partner.