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Fertility, families, and households Cohabitation Sara & Hyun Sik Soc 971 Week 5 Discussion Questions Brien, Lillard, & Waite What is the continuous time-hazard model? What’s the difference from discrete time-hazard model? How can we interpret the outcomes? What is the search model? What is the implication of the search model in this article? What do you think are the potential candidates for “unmeasured factors” that increase the chances of correlations between family building behaviors? Don’t authors exaggerate the positive correlation between family building behaviors by these “unmeasured factors”? Or, doesn’t this article contain some connotation of virtuous cycle of pregnancy, cohabitation and marriage? One of the findings from this paper is that, “…cohabitation, marriage, and nonmarital conception are all part of the same process, in which those who are more likely to experience one event are also more likely to experience another (p. 542). This finding is interesting in light of the scholarly discourse on the “incomplete institutionalization” or “deinstitutionalization” of the family (by which scholars mean there is no longer a relatively strict normative and behavioral pattern of family formation in which conception occurs in marriage and cohabitation doesn’t exist.) What are the implications of a family that is not institutionalized? Bumpass & Lu What is the period multi-state life table? How can we construct it? Through which mechanisms does rising cohabitation increase the likelihood for children to be negatively affected? How much do these factors increase for the past two decades? Do these factors exert similar effects across basic demographic variables such as education, race and age? Last week we talked about assortative mating, and the possibility that women must marry “down” if they have the liability of children. How might cohabitation factor in to this process? Could a single mother can use the lesser commitment of cohabitation (as compared to marriage) as leverage to gain a partner who meets her standards? Or are the marriage and cohabitation markets separate such that “high quality” men marry and are thus unavailable for cohabitation? Casper & Bianchi These authors note that a larger proportion of cohabiting couples than of married couples have nontraditional characteristics (e.g., woman older than man, partners of different races, gender egalitarianism). Is it reasonable to hypothesize that cohabiting unions are more fragile than marriages in part because of societal disapproval of these characteristics? If so, how would you test the hypothesis? What do authors think are important factors which increase cohabitation? Do you think cohabitation more resembles marriage than singlehood or cohabitation is more like singlehood than marriage? In what respects, do you think so? What is your theoretical ground for your argument? Authors deal with homosexual cohabitation a little. What are the distinct features in homosexual cohabitation? Why aren’t there many things known about homosexual family building? Do you agree to the claim that homosexual household have the adoption right? What are the pros and cons about this debate? Do you think there are much difference between male homosexual and female homosexual family? Dush, Cohan, & Amato This article tries to identify the better explanation between selection hypothesis and experience of cohabitation hypothesis for unhappier and more unstable marital status among those who experienced cohabitation before marriage. Are the hypothesis constructed appropriately? How about methods? More specifically, authors posit that the selection perspective predict lessened effect of premarital cohabitation on marital disruption with increase of cohabitation for last two decades. Do you agree to this reasoning? What is the assumption underlying this reasoning? As to methods, authors utilize very unique sampling procedure. Do you think this sampling method generate nationally representative data? What are the pros and cons for excluding parents of individuals in the 1981-1987 cohort from respondents in the 1964-1980 cohort? These authors speculate that experiences of cohabitation may mediate the effects of selection-intocohabitation factors on marital stability. What do you think about this hypothesis? Do you think the type of cohabitation relationship (e.g., precursor to marriage, as defined in Casper & Bianchi) matters? Smock, Manning, & Porter This is the first article we have ever met using interview method. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this approach? Do you think the authors successfully employed qualitative research methods and properly interpreted the outcomes? These authors repeatedly emphasize that their respondents are working and lower middle classes so that they seem to argue that the “money” is the most important deterrent to marriage in these classes. But is money so important factor? Interviews also revealed that there were personal differences about how much money really matter. Then, how can we explain these differences? For the lower and middle class cohabiters interviewed in this study, marriage seems to be (at least in part) a symbol of social status. Do you think marriage is viewed as a status symbol among members of the upper class? Where do you think the views of the interviewees originated (e.g., from observing peers, parents, members of the upper class, media)? We will have encountered many kinds of cohabitation until class. What form of cohabitation do you think the authors exemplify? For example, which category can these cohabitors be put into according to Bianchi and Casper’s classification? Across readings How do the assumptions, both theoretical and analytical, that the authors make affect their findings and interpretations? There are many ways to measure cohabitation and cohabitation rates. Which ways do you prefer, and why? Many articles argue that cohabitation increased rapidly for the past years and became more and more a pre-marital stage. Then can you imagine all couple who want to marry someday will cohabit some duration in life-course? If not, what factor(s) will prevent this from happening? We frequently encountered the well-established fact that African-American are less likely to marry than European-American even if they get pregnant. How can we explain this phenomenon? Personal responsibility, economic circumstance, social pressure or anything else?