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Maternal Labor Market Return, Parental Leave Policies, and Gender Inequality in Housework

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  • Pia S. Schober

Abstract

This study investigates how the duration of the work interruption and the labor market status of mothers upon their return affect the division of housework in couples after a birth. By observing several parental leave policy reforms in Britain and West-Germany, this research also explores how extended leave entitlements for mothers influence the division of housework. The analysis uses multilevel multiprocess models for 1220 birth events of British couples and 1785 births to German couples based on data from the British Household Panel Survey (1991-2008) and the German Socio-Economic Panel (1985-2009). The results suggest that mothers increase their housework hours with every additional month of employment interruption. Mothers' full-time return seems more effective than a short labor market time-out in altering men's housework contributions and reducing the trend towards a more traditional division of housework. Parental leave policy extensions for mothers were associated with the division of housework only indirectly through their impact on the length of women's work interruptions.

Suggested Citation

  • Pia S. Schober, 2011. "Maternal Labor Market Return, Parental Leave Policies, and Gender Inequality in Housework," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 422, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp422
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    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.391133.de/diw_sp0422.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1.
    2. Fiona Steele & Constantinos Kallis & Harvey Goldstein & Heather Joshi, 2005. "The relationship between childbearing and transitions from marriage and cohabitation in Britain," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 42(4), pages 647-673, November.
    3. Jan Ondrich & C. Spiess & Qing Yang & Gert Wagner, 2003. "The Liberalization of Maternity Leave Policy and the Return to Work after Childbirth in Germany," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 77-110, January.
    4. Spiess, C.Katharina & Wrohlich, Katharina, 2008. "The Parental Leave Benefit Reform in Germany: Costs and Labour Market Outcomes of Moving towards the Nordic Model," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 575-591.
    5. Ursula Henz, 2008. "Gender roles and values of children: Childless Couples in East and West Germany," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(39), pages 1451-1500, August.
    6. Chiara Pronzato, 2009. "Return to work after childbirth: does parental leave matter in Europe?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 341-360, December.
    7. Yoshio Higuchi & Jane Waldfogel & Masahiro Abe, 1999. "Family leave policies and women's retention after childbirth: Evidence from the United States, Britain, and Japan," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 12(4), pages 523-545.
    8. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
    9. Suzanne Bianchi, 2000. "Maternal employment and time with children: Dramatic change or surprising continuity?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 37(4), pages 401-414, November.
    10. Uhrig, S.C. Noah, 2008. "The nature and causes of attrition in the British Household Panel Study," ISER Working Paper Series 2008-05, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    11. Man Yee Kan, 2008. "Does gender trump money? Housework hours of husbands and wives in Britain," Work, Employment & Society, British Sociological Association, vol. 22(1), pages 45-66, March.
    12. Shelly Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak, 1996. "Bargaining and Distribution in Marriage," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 139-158, Fall.
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    Cited by:

    1. Geyer, Johannes & Haan, Peter & Spieß, C. Katharina & Wrohlich, Katharina, 2013. "Das Elterngeld und seine Wirkungen auf das Haushaltseinkommen junger Familien und die Erwerbstätigkeit von Müttern," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 193-211.
    2. Pia S. Schober, 2012. "Parental Leave Policies and Child Care Time in Couples after Childbirth," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 434, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

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    Keywords

    Parenthood; parental leave policy; maternal employment; housework; gender division of labor; Britain; Germany;

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