Effects of Early Life Family Events on Womenâ€™s Late Life Labour Market Behaviour: An Analysis of the Relationship between Childbearing and Retirement in Western Germany
The relationship between a womanâ€™s reproductive history and her entry into retirement is not well-investigated yet. Will mothers exit the workforce earlier than childless women (as they have a weaker labour market orientation; as they are more likely to have a â€˜male breadwinnerâ€™ in the household), or will they work longer to make-up for employment interruptions during their reproductive phase? We exploit data from the German Socio-Economic Panel to estimate discrete-time logit models for womenâ€™s transition to retirement, using detailed information on the individualâ€™s fertility biography as main explanatory variables. Our primary finding is that having children delays a womanâ€™s exit from the labour force. This effect tends to be stronger for mothers who experienced their first birth relatively late. Postponing fertility and retirement should both be driven by a relatively strong career orientation. Thus, in addition to household economic considerations, the individualâ€™s evaluation of her worker role relative to her family role is likely to be important for her retirement timing.
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