Summer and research
This year, my research was accepted for discussion in the Summer Academy organized by IOS. The meeting took place in Tuzing, a small city by the Starnberger lake not far from Munich. The three-day meeting included three keynotes and ample time to discuss with other participants.
Here, I presented my paper on how childbirth affects attitudes towards traditional gender norms. The research shows that upon becoming parents, mothers (and fathers) embrace more traditional norms in a number of domains. They are more likely to put a higher value on family that before, and they would even conform to a male breadwinner model. The change in attitudes is more pronounced in Central and Eastern European countries, and almost negligible elsewhere. I further show that this is related to a series of characteristics of those countries. Noteworthy, changes are more frequent in countries where women receive less support during motherhood from the state, and where differences in norms across genders are more marked.
I interpret the findings through the lens of identity economics. Before birth, couples might estimate the costs of rising a child, and their ability to do so. If these expectations are biased, then when facing with the actuality of the costs, couples might deviate from the original plans, for example being a dual-earner couple. These deviations create a conflict, inasmuch as they are not compatible with how individuals perceived themselves. This conflict can be resolved by either changing the behaviour or by modifying their identity.
Below you can see our full presentation.