Abstract – Study 01
Research about parent effects on family behavior focuses on intergenerational transmission: whether children show the same family behavior as their parents. This potentially overemphasizes similarity and obscures heterogeneity in parent effects on family behavior. In this study we make two contributions. First, instead of focusing on isolated focal events, we conceptualize parents’ and their children’s family formation holistically as the process of union formation and childbearing between age 15 and age 40. We then discuss mechanisms likely to shape these intergenerational patterns. Second, beyond estimating average transmission effects, we innovatively apply multichannel sequence analysis to dyadic sequence data on middle class American families from the Longitudinal Study of Generations (LSOG, N=461 parent-child dyads). The results show three salient intergenerational family formation patterns among this population: a strong transmission, a moderated transmission, and an intergenerational contrast pattern. We examine what determines parents’ and children’s likelihood to sort into a specific intergenerational pattern. For middle class American families, educational upward mobility is a strong predictor of moderated intergenerational transmission, whereas parent-child conflict increases the likelihood of intergenerational contrast in family formation. We conclude that intergenerational patterns of family formation are generated at the intersection of macro structural change and family internal psychological dynamics
Abstract – Study 02
Sibling studies have been widely used to analyze the impact of family background on socioeconomic and, to a lesser extent, demographic outcomes. We contribute to this literature with a novel research design that combines sibling comparisons and sequence analysis to analyze longitudinal family formation trajectories of siblings and unrelated persons. This allows us to scrutinize in a more rigorous way, whether there is sibling similarity in family formation trajectories and if siblings’ shared background characteristics, such as parental education and early childhood family structure can account for similarity in family formation. We use Finnish register data from 1987 until 2007 to construct longitudinal family formation trajectories in young adulthood for siblings and unrelated dyads (N=14,257 dyads). Findings show that siblings’ family formation is moderately but significantly more similar than for unrelated dyads, also after controlling for crucial parental background characteristics. Shared parental background characteristics add surprisingly little to account for sibling similarity in family formation. Instead, gender and the respondents’ own education are more decisive forces in the stratification of family formation. Yet family internal dynamics seem to reinforce this stratification, such that siblings have a higher probability to experience similar family formation patterns. Particularly patterns that go along with economic disadvantage are concentrated within families. This is in line with a growing body of research highlighting the importance of family structure in the reproduction of social inequality.
Abstract – Study 03
This study investigated the association between childhood living arrangements and early family formation in Germany. Drawing on persisting socio-environmental differences between East and West Germany the author addressed the question whether the association of childhood family structure and the early transition to adulthood varies in different societal contexts. In line with research from other countries, the analysis based on data from the German Family Panel (pairfam/DemoDiff; N = 3643) showed that children from non-traditional family structures experience important demographic transitions faster than children who have been raised by both biological parents. In addition to this rather ubiquitous association, the study revealed considerable context-specific differences, which point to the long-term consequences of the post-war separation of East and West Germany. First, although increasing in relevance, family structure was less predictive for early family formation in East Germany. Second, the results indicated that the link between childhood family structure and the reproduction of social inequality, which has been found in many studies from the US, could only be replicated for West Germany. In East Germany, educational attainment did not mediate the effect of childhood living arrangements on early family formation, nor was it associated with an increased probability of ever having lived in an alternative family structure.
Much attention is being paid to the planning of public-private partnership (PPP) infrastructure projects. The subsequent implementation phase – when the contract has been signed and the project ‘starts rolling’ – has received less attention. However, sound agreements and good intentions in project planning can easily fail in project implementation. Implementing PPP infrastructure projects is complex, but what does this complexity entail? How are projects managed, and how do public and private partners cooperate in implementation? What are effective management strategies to achieve satisfactory outcomes? This is the fi rst set of questions addressed in this thesis. Importantly, the complexity of PPP infrastructure development imposes requirements on the evaluation methods that can be applied for studying these questions. Evaluation methods that ignore complexity do not create a realistic understanding of PPP implementation processes, with the consequence that evaluations tell us little about what works and what does not, in which contexts, and why. This hampers learning from evaluations. What are the requirements for a complexity-informed evaluation method? And how does qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) meet these requirements? This is the second set of questions addressed in this thesis.
The main research objective of my thesis is to contribute to a broader understanding of social inequality by going beyond inequalities solely derived from the labor market and find theoretical arguments as well as empirical evidence for the establishment of wealth as a distinct dimension of social stratification and, more importantly, of social inequality. With social stratification, I am referring to a society’s ranking of categories of individuals into a hierarchy of social positions. Social stratification becomes social inequality if access to these positions is unequal and if these positions are systematically related to advantageous or disadvantageous conditions of acting and living. In the course of my thesis, I will show that both these conditions apply to wealth: first, access is unequal and second, being of higher (lower) wealth is related to advantageous (disadvantageous) conditions of living. My thesis consists of five empirical studies that are knotted together by the common conception of wealth as a distinct dimension of social inequality. In order to find empirical support for this argument, in each study, I will approach the topic of wealth, or wealth inequality, from different perspectives. All studies represent theory-driven empirical analysis and are designed as international comparative studies.
In this PhD thesis the question “What makes firms innovative?” is evaluated. In particular, the thesis investigates the differential impact of inter-organizational social networks comprising various different corporate partners on the knowledge stock of a company, evaluates how and to what extent internal knowledge capabilities contribute to innovation success, and scrutinizes how both inter-organizational social networks and internal knowledge capabilities interact and thereby affect innovation success. Therefore, the thesis combines the social capital theory and the concept of absorptive capacity on an organizational level and applies survey data from the German manufacturing industry. Among others, the thesis shows that, first, innovativeness of external partners is contagious, second, that besides customers especially R&D partners can be valuable sources of different types of knowledge, and, third, how the usage of knowledge management systems fosters innovation success. Thereby the results contribute not only to the innovation literature and, in particular, to the open innovation literature, but also to the research fields of inter-organizational knowledge transfer, absorptive capacity, and social capital theory.