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Maternal Employment and Childhood Overweight in Germany

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  • Sophie-Charlotte Meyer

    () (Schumpeter School of Business and Economics, University of Wuppertal)

Abstract

A widespread finding among studies from the US and the UK is that maternal employment is correlated with an increased risk of child overweight, even in a causal manner, whereas studies from European countries obtain less conclusive results. As evidence for Germany is still scarce, the purpose of this study is to identify the effect of maternal employment on childhood overweight in Germany using two sets of representative micro data. Moreover, we explore potential underlying mechanisms that might explain this relationship. In order to address the selection into maternal full-time employment, we use an instrumental variable strategy exploiting the number of younger siblings in the household as an instrument. While the OLS model suggests that maternal full-time employment is related to a 5 percentage point higher probability of the child to be overweight, IV estimates indicate a 25 percentage points higher overweight probability due to maternal full-time employment. Exploring various possible pathways, we find that maternal employment is associated with unhealthy dietary and activity habits which might explain the positive effect of maternal employment on child overweight to some extent. Several sensitivity analyses confirm the robustness of our findings.

Suggested Citation

  • Sophie-Charlotte Meyer, 2015. "Maternal Employment and Childhood Overweight in Germany," Schumpeter Discussion Papers SDP15005, Universitätsbibliothek Wuppertal, University Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:bwu:schdps:sdp15005
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    aternal employment; childhood overweight; BMI; maternal labor supply;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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