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A New Color in the Picture: The Impact of Educational Fields on Fertility in Western Germany

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  • Anja Oppermann

Abstract

The extensive research on the impact of educational attainment on fertility behavior has been expanded by a new dimension. According to these recent findings, not only the level but also the field of education has to be taken into account. The field of education determines a great deal about labor market options and influences opportunities to combine employment and family life. The question this paper aims to answer is: How does the educational field influence the transition to parenthood of women and men in Western Germany? The German Socio Economic Panel (1984-2010) provides the data. Discrete time event history models are applied to examine the impact of the field of education on the transition to parenthood, looking at the time after graduation until a first child is born. Educational fields are grouped according to their most salient characteristic with regard to the share of women, the occupational specificity, the share of public-sector employment, and the share of part-time employment among people educated in the field. The models take the educational level into account and control for marital status, episodes of educational enrollment, and migration background. The results show that educational fields matter for the transition to a first birth only for women. For men, the results do not show a significant impact of educational fields on the transition rates to parenthood. However, they point at the importance of the educational level for the probability of men to become fathers. High transition rates are found among women educated in both female-dominated and male-dominated fields. The finding of low transition rates among women educated in public-sector fields come as a surprise, since, given the high workplace security in the public sector, they were expected to be among the women with high transition rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Anja Oppermann, 2012. "A New Color in the Picture: The Impact of Educational Fields on Fertility in Western Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 496, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp496
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    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.410730.de/diw_sp0496.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Angelika Tölke & Martin Diewald, 2003. "Insecurities in employment and occupational careers and their impact on the transition to fatherhood in Western Germany," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 9(3), pages 41-68, September.
    2. Jan Bavel, 2010. "Choice of study discipline and the postponement of motherhood in Europe: The impact of expected earnings, gender composition, and family attitudes," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 47(2), pages 439-458, May.
    3. Tamás Bartus, 2005. "Estimation of marginal effects using margeff," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 5(3), pages 309-329, September.
    4. Christos Bagavos, 2010. "Education and childlessness: the relationship between educational field, educational level, employment and childlessness among Greek women born in 1955-1959," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 8(1), pages 51-75.
    5. Jürgen Dorbritz, 2008. "Germany: Family diversity with low actual and desired fertility," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(17), pages 557-598, July.
    6. Adsera, Alicia, 2005. "Where Are the Babies? Labor Market Conditions and Fertility in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 1576, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Tomáš Sobotka, 2008. "Overview Chapter 7: The rising importance of migrants for childbearing in Europe," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(9), pages 225-248, July.
    8. Martin Dribe & Maria Stanfors, 2010. "Family life in power couples," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 23(30), pages 847-878, November.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    field of education; level of education; fertility; childlessness; Western Germany;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

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