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|Title: ||Parental Rights and Responsibilities of Chilean Women: A Study of Child Education Arrangement for Different Marital Status|
|Authors: ||Lin, Chin-Ming;Wang, Ofelia Pei-Chung;Kuo, Carolina Yi-Chun|
|Keywords: ||marital status;gender roles;motherhood;work-family conflict;education investment|
|Issue Date: ||2013-10-11 11:42:44 (UTC+8)|
|Abstract: ||Family life in Latin America in general, and in Chile in Particular, is changing rapidly as
it is in other Western countries. A very important factor for the change in family
structure and, as a consequence, in gender role in the family, is the changing marital
status. When the proportions of cohabiting and single‐parent households increased,
family resource arrangement may also be expected to change as we have to
reconsider the parental rights and responsibilities. In this paper, we will focus on
parental commitment in children’s education attainment. Specifically, we want to
find out if there are significant differences in children’s education resource
arrangement for three types of union status—marriage (all kinds), consensual unions,
and other (visiting unions and single parents).
A society wants to maximize its return from investing in education. Basically, the
return from education investment is decided by family income (I) and personal ability
Y = Y(I,A|Z),
where Y is return from education investment, and Z is parameter affecting the
effectiveness of education investment.
Altruistic parents concern their own consumption and their children’s future income,
so they may assist children’s education through investing part of their current income
or direct transfer. The format of assistance is related to social institutions, wherein
parents may let their children receive general and public education provided by the
government with revenues from taxation, or they may opt to let their children
receive private education with their own financial resources. In this sense, families
are investors who will affect their children’s future labor income more or less
dependent on the level of their investment.
On the other hand, people are born with different abilities which could be revealed
as they enter labor force after receiving education resources. Thus, a person’s wage
income in labor force (W) will be determined by the level of his/her education
training (E) and born abilities (A):
W = W(E,A),
given the assumption that the more abled person can earn a higher future income by
means of education. This also implies that a person with higher ability is more
motivated to acquire resources just because he/she is assured higher education
As for the factors that affect education returns other than family income and born
abilities, we will look particularly at family structures. Marriage is a very important
factor related to the transformation of family structures. Through years, marriage
rate has been declining in Chile, with a proportion of 52% for married women of
reproductive ages in 1970 declined to a proportion of 43% in 2002. At the same time,
cohabitation grew three times from only a proportion of 3% in 1970 to 11% in 2002.
The proportion of cohabiters, though, is still low compared to other Latin American
countries, such as Colombia or Honduras, where about 60% of women of
reproductive ages were cohabiting in 2005. A novelty that has been pointed out,
though , is that, since the 1990’s, cohabitation started to increase among groups of
high socioeconomic status in Chile—which could mean a new type of cohabitation is
emerging, a cohabitation that may start to reverse the prevalence of the traditional
Latin American nuptial system in Chile. Furthermore, there has been an increase in
the proportion of single women. In 1970, 56% of women in the 20‐24 age interval
were single, a proportion that grew to 67% in 2002. The fact that more women
remain single until later in their lives is reflected in an older mean age at marriage,
which was 23.5 in 1960, but went up to 26.7 years in 2004.
At the same time that the proportion of married couple declined in Chile, the
proportion of children born outside of marriage increased from 16% in 1960 to 68%
in 2010. This not only means that marriage is not the preferred setting for
childbearing anymore, but also that non‐marital births are proportionally higher in
Chile than in Sweden where they reached 55% in 2008. It is also higher than in the
U.S. where it reached 38.5% in 2008.
Both the decline of marriage and the increase of proportion of children born outside
of marriage may have been affected by two legal changes that were introduced in
Chile in the last decade. In 1996, a new ley de filiacion (paternity law) was passed,
ruling out the differences between children born within and outside of marriage, in
terms of heritage rights, food and support rights, and the right to use their fathers’
last name. In 2004, the first divorce law was enacted in Chile. Before that people
willing to end their marriage could nullify the union, but the process was costly in
terms of time and money, and therefore very hard to follow for the poor. One may
hypothesize that the paternity law may have stimulated the decline of marriage,
1 See Daniele Checci, The Economics of Education: Human Capital, Family Background and Inequality
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), Chapter 5.
since legally being born inside of marriage does not carry an advantage anymore.
Passing a divorce law, on the contrary, could in principle have stimulated marriage
among couples who were not sure about making a life‐long commitment, since it
makes it easier to put an end to an unsatisfactory union.
Among the other socioeconomic constraints which will affect intergenerational
transfer within the family, we look at work‐family conflict which is of particular
relevance for women, as motherhood embedded in them being deemed so
significant in Latin American countries. Many women entered workplace to
supplement family income in order to support their children’s education. However,
this caused a conflict between women’s roles as housewives and income earners.
Consideration on social strata will have to be put in place to determine how women
in Chile to balance between the above two roles and, therefore, how children fared
in their education achievement. Generally, women of lower social strata in Chile
opted to play the role of housewives or take part‐time jobs to fulfill their
motherhood roles. However, this would cause a great dilemma if they happened to
be single mother and could not afford to stay at home. In any way, the last two cases
would result in vicious circle which will put their children in perilous status toward
their education achievement.
Another key research question is how public policies regarding families in Chile, such
as its extensive school voucher system, are changing and will they be sufficient for
meeting the demands of the so‐called “second demographic transition”. Combined
with consideration on marital and family structures, a preliminary conclusion is
reached that government would have to deal with social customs as emanating from
religious instructions and traditional believes which are deeply embedded in Chilean
society emphasizing motherhood instead of parenthood. The latter will loom large if
children’s discipline and educational achievement are deemed more important as
responsibilities for both parents, as against the caring role for women which is
emphasized in motherhood conceptualization.
|Relation: ||International Association for Feminist Economics 22nd IAFFE Annual Conference, 15p.|
|Appears in Collections:||[亞洲研究所] 會議論文|
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