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Employment after motherhood: a European comparison


  • Gutiérrez-Domènech, Maria


There is theoretical evidence that economic and family policies have an important impact on mother''s employment. The aim of this article is to study empirically the women''s transitions from employment to non-employment after they have their first birth in Belgium, West-Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden. The paper investigates the evolution of post-birth employment across time and how these shifts are related to - cross-country - different policies and society. We also test if the withdrawal from work is due to marriage or to motherhood. Results show that Spain and West-Germany are the countries with the lowest rates of staying on in the labour market after childbearing. Higher education is a key explanatory factor of the probability of post-birth employment in all countries, except for Sweden. In the period 1973-93, Belgian and especially Spanish mothers increased their probability of post-birth employment, ceteris paribus. The opposite movement occurred in West-Germany. Italy and Sweden remained fairly constant. This trend is mainly explained by the taxation system (joint vs. separate), education and part-time employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Gutiérrez-Domènech, Maria, 2003. "Employment after motherhood: a European comparison," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20046, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:20046

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paula Adam, 1996. "Mothers in an insider-outsider economy: The puzzle of Spain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 9(3), pages 301-323.
    2. Ondrich, Jan & Spiess, C Katharina & Yang, Qing, 1996. "Barefoot and in a German Kitchen: Federal Parental Leave and Benefit Policy and the Return to Work after Childbirth in Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 9(3), pages 247-266, August.
    3. Adam, Paula, 1996. "Mothers in an Insider-Outsider Economy: The Puzzle of Spain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 9(3), pages 301-323, August.
    4. Siv S. Gustafsson & Shirley Dex & Cécile M. M. P. Wetzels & Jan Dirk Vlasblom, 1996. "Women`s labor force transitions in connection with childbirth: A panel data comparison between Germany, Sweden and Great Britain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 9(3), pages 223-246.
    5. Apps, Patricia & Rees, Ray, 2001. "Fertility, Female Labor Supply and Public Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 409, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Óystein Kravdal, 1992. "Forgone labor participation and earning due to childbearing among Norwegian women," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 29(4), pages 545-563, November.
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    More about this item


    employment transitions; part-time work; motherhood; education;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General


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