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Does the IABS reliably identify maternity leave taking?


  • Schönberg, Uta

    (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany])


"The data set that researchers have used most often to study career interruptions due to childbirth in the German context is the German Socioeconomic Panel. An alternative data source is the much larger IAB Employment Sample (IABS). Although this data set does not include direct information on childbirth, mothers on maternity leave can potentially be identified. There are, however, two problems. First, the leave variable in the IABS does not distinguish between maternity leave and other leave taking, such as sick leave. Second, the child's birth month has to be inferred from the month the mother goes on maternity leave, which is likely to lead to measurement error in the time the mother spends at home after childbirth. This paper investigates both problems, using an extended version of the IABS that supplements the social security records with direct information on childbirth from the German Pension Register. I find that for West German citizens, about 90% of leave spells are due to maternity leave. The child's birth month is correctly estimated for about 70%, and over- or underestimated by one month for about 25% of mothers. I conclude that the IABS 75-01 (as well as the latest weakly anonymous version at the FDZ) provides a valuable alternative data source to the GSOEP to study career interruptions due to childbirth, as long as the focus is on women who are attached to the labour market." (Author's abstract, IAB-Doku) ((en))

Suggested Citation

  • Schönberg, Uta, 2008. "Does the IABS reliably identify maternity leave taking?," FDZ Methodenreport 200803_en, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  • Handle: RePEc:iab:iabfme:200803_en

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Görlich, Dennis & De Grip, Andries, 2007. "Human capital depreciation during family-related career interruptions in male and female occupations," Kiel Working Papers 1379, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    2. Kunze, Astrid, 2002. "The Timing of Careers and Human Capital Depreciation," IZA Discussion Papers 509, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Weber, Andrea Maria, 2004. "Wann kehren junge Mütter auf den Arbeitsmarkt zurück? Eine Verweildaueranalyse für Deutschland," ZEW Discussion Papers 04-08, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    4. Schönberg, Uta & Ludsteck, Johannes, 2007. "Maternity Leave Legislation, Female Labor Supply, and the Family Wage Gap," IZA Discussion Papers 2699, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Beblo, Miriam & Bender, Stefan & Wolf, Elke, 2006. "The wage effects of entering motherhood: a within-firm matching approach," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-053, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    6. Dennis Görlich & Andries de Grip, 2009. "Human capital depreciation during hometime," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(suppl_1), pages 98-121, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dustmann, Christian & Schönberg, Uta, 2008. "The Effect of Expansions in Maternity Leave Coverage on Children's Long-Term Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 3605, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).


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