DIAL Mid-Term Conference

The Equal Lives team was out in force for the DIAL Mid Term Conference in Turku, Finland in June 2019. The event was hosted by Equal Lives Co-Investigator Jani Erola and his colleagues at the University of Turku.

Germany co-Investigator Anette Fasang kicked off proceedings with an overview of the Equal Lives project.

Anette also presented Apples and Oranges? Comparing Life Course Typologies across Countries, work undertaken with Equal Lives team members Selçuk Bedük, Zafer Büyükkececi and Aleksi Karhula in which they critically discuss the typical approach to creating typologies of work and family life courses based on sequence and cluster analysis.

Using an illustrative example comparing typologies of family life courses in Germany, the United Kingdom, Finland, and the Netherlands, the research team examine the challenges to the cross-national comparability of life course typologies with regard to two substantive goals:

1) comparative description of life course typologies

2) using life course typologies as determinants and outcomes in further analysis

The presentation concluded with several guidelines for applied analyses and a discussion of possibilities and open challenges for future research.

Baby boomers and millennials

Zachary Van Winkle presented Life Course Trajectories and Wealth Accumulation in the United States: Comparing Baby Boomers and Millennials , research with Rob Gruijters using detailed panel data from the 1979 and 1997 National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth.

The research analyses the work and family life courses of Millennials and Babyboomers from age 18 to 35 and relating them to wealth outcomes at the end of this period.

The research sheds new light on the perception that Millennials are economically worse off than their parents. It shows that cohort differences in wealth change across the distribution: the poorest Millennials have less wealth than their Babyboomer counterparts at the same stage in their lives, but the wealthiest Millennials have more.

Wealth accumulation

Selçuk Bedük presented work undertaken with Equal Lives PI Susan Harkness looking at the role of early adulthood work-family trajectories in wealth accumulation in the UK.

The research, which makes use of data from the British Household Panel Survey and Understanding Society and uses home ownership as a proxy for wealth accumulation, investigates the penalties associated with different work/family trajectories and seeks to explain how and why they occur.

What women earn

Selçuk also presented new work with Susan Harkness looking at the earnings of women in the UK using using 26 years of harmonised data from the British Household Panel Study/Understanding Society.

Women’s earnings over the life course in the UK: parental background, education and family trajectories takes a holistic view of women’s earnings by describing the work trajectories of women aged 25 to 45, examining how their earnings follow different work trajectories and change or vary over time and exploring the extent to which family trajectories vis-à-vis education and parental background explain any variation in women’s earnings over the life course.

Sibling similarity

Destination as a Process: Sibling Similarity in Early Socioeconomic Trajectories was a presentation by Alexsi Karhula looking at the similarities among siblings, particularly brothers, not only of their outcomes but also of the paths they take to those outcomes.

The research indicates that measures of social mobility that concentrate on final outcomes are at risk of underestimating the association between social origin and destination because social inequalities are formed across the life course not just at the end of specific life phases.