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Women`s labor force transitions in connection with childbirth: A panel data comparison between Germany, Sweden and Great Britain


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  • Siv S. Gustafsson

    (Department of Economics, University of Amsterdam, Roeterstraat 11, 1018 WB Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

  • Shirley Dex

    (ESRC Research Centre on Micro-Social Change, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ, UK)

  • Cécile M. M. P. Wetzels

    (Department of Economics, University of Amsterdam, Roeterstraat 11, 1018 WB Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

  • Jan Dirk Vlasblom

    (Institute of Economics/CIAV, Utrecht University, Kromme Nieuwegracht 22, 3512 HH Utrecht, The Netherlands)


In this paper we make use of the panel aspects of the German GSOEP, the Swedish HUS and the British BHPS data. In these data sets we known month and year of childbirth and the month to month labor force status of the mother also before giving birth. This permits analysis of labor force transitions triggered by child births of different birth orders. From macro data Swedish women are known to have the highest labor force participation. The difference in total labor force participation of women is totally a result of fewer mothers entering the labor force and entering later in Germany and Great Britain than in Sweden. This paper shows that before birth of first child there is no such difference. We find that German and British women have even higher full-time labor force participation than Swedish women 12 months before the birth of the first child. The difference is more pronounced for second and third births than for first births. We suggest that these differences are caused by different family policy regimes where Germany can be characterized as a breadwinner regime and Sweden a regime oriented towards equal role sharing of father and mother. Our results on determinants of being in the labor force both after and before the birth of a child as well as determinants of the tempo of entering the labor force after birth shows that women`s own human capital is important both in Germany and Great Britain, whereas in Sweden also less educated women have entered the labor force by the time the child is 2 years old.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Population Economics.

Volume (Year): 9 (1996)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 223-246

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:9:y:1996:i:3:p:223-246

Note: Received September 15, 1995 / Accepted June 18, 1996 received by the Swedish Council in the Humanities and Social Sciences and the EU Human Capital and Mobility (HCM) network for the Female Labour Force Participation Network within which framework this analysis has been carried out. Responsible editors: S.S. Gustafsson, John F. Ermisch.-->
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Keywords: Labor force participation · childbirth · labor force transitions;

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