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Maternal Employment and Happiness: The Effect of Non-Participation and Part-Time Employment on Mothers' Life Satisfaction

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  • Eva M. Berger

Abstract

In contrast to unemployment, the effect of non-participation and parttime employment on subjective well-being has much less frequently been the subject of economists' investigations. In Germany, many women with dependent children are involuntarily out of the labor force or in part-time employment because of family constraints (e.g., due to lack of available and appropriate childcare). Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) Study, this paper analyzes the impact of involuntary familyrelated non-participation and part-time employment on mothers' life satisfaction. Controlling for unobserved individual fixed effects, I find that both the pecuniary effects (foregone earnings) and the non-pecuniary effects (psychological costs) are significantly negative. Compensating income variations reveal that the residual household income would have to be raised by 182 percent (157 percent/77 percent) in order to just offset the negative effect of not being able to work because of family constraints (of being in short/long part-time employment). Moreover, in terms of overall happiness among mothers, non-participation is revealed to be a more serious problem than unemployment.

Suggested Citation

  • Eva M. Berger, 2009. "Maternal Employment and Happiness: The Effect of Non-Participation and Part-Time Employment on Mothers' Life Satisfaction," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 178, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp178
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    1. repec:zbw:rwirep:0196 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Anna Klabunde & Evelyn Korn, 2010. "Parasites and Raven Mothers: A German-Japanese Comparison on (Lone) Motherhood," Ruhr Economic Papers 0196, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    3. Klabunde, Anna & Korn, Evelyn, 2010. "Parasites and Raven Mothers: A German-Japanese Comparison on (Lone) Motherhood," Ruhr Economic Papers 196, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    4. Pia S. Schober & Christian Schmitt, 2013. "Day-Care Expansion and Parental Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 602, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    5. Suppa, Nicolai, 2012. "Job Characteristics and Subjective Well-Being in Australia – A Capability Approach Perspective," Ruhr Economic Papers 388, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    6. Latif, Ehsan, 2010. "Crisis, unemployment and psychological wellbeing in Canada," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 520-530, July.
    7. Zumbro, Timo, 2011. "The relationship between homeownership and life satisfaction in Germany," CAWM Discussion Papers 44, University of Münster, Center of Applied Economic Research Münster (CAWM).
    8. Latif, Ehsan, 2011. "The impact of retirement on psychological well-being in Canada," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 373-380, August.
    9. Nicolai Suppa, 2012. "Job Characteristics and Subjective Well-Being in Australia – A Capability Approach Perspective," Ruhr Economic Papers 0388, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    10. Ilse Laurijssen & Ignace Glorieux, 2013. "Balancing Work and Family: A Panel Analysis of the Impact of Part-Time Work on the Experience of Time Pressure," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 112(1), pages 1-17, May.
    11. Vanessa Gash & Antje Mertens & Laura Romeu Gordo, 2010. "Women between Part-Time and Full-Time Work: The Influence of Changing Hours of Work on Happiness and Life-Satisfaction," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 268, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    12. repec:zbw:rwirep:0388 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Subjective well-being; life satisfaction; labor force participation;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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