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Women's Fertility and Employment Decisions under Two Political Systems - Comparing East and West Germany before Reunification

  • Julia Bredtmann

    ()

  • Jochen Kluve
  • Sandra Schaffner

Over the last decades fertility rates have decreased in most developed countries, while female labour force participation has increased strongly over the same time period. To shed light on the relationship between women's fertility and employment decisions, we analyse their transitions to the first, second, and third child as well as their employment discontinuities following childbirth. Using new longitudinal datasets that cover the work and family life of women in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the German Democratic Republic (GDR) allows for taking into account two political regimes and drawing conclusions about the relevance of institutional factors for fertility and employment decisions. Our results suggest that in both parts of Germany women's probability of having a first child is negatively correlated with both employment and educational achievement. Regarding second and third birth risks, this negative correlation weakens. Analysing women's time spent out of the labour market following childbirth we find that in the East almost all mothers return to work within 18 months after birth. In the West, however, this proportion is much smaller and at the age when the child starts nursery school or school, women re-enter the labour market at higher rates. These results point to a strong influence of institutional circumstances, specifically the extent of public daycare provision. A multivariate analysis reveals a strong correlation between a woman's employment status prior to birth and her probability of re-entering the labour market afterwards.

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Paper provided by Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen in its series Ruhr Economic Papers with number 0149.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rwi:repape:0149
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  1. Jochen Kluve & Markus Tamm, 2009. "Now Daddy's Changing Diapers and Mommy's Making Her Career - Evaluating a Generous Parental Leave Regulation Using a Natural Experiment," Ruhr Economic Papers 0145, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  2. repec:ese:iserwp:2007-30 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Chiara Pronzato, 2008. "Return to work after childbirth: Does parental leave matter in Europe?," Working Papers 014, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
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  5. Karsten Hank & Michaela Kreyenfeld, 2000. "Does the availability of childcare influence the employment of mothers? Findings from western Germany," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2000-003, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  6. Michaela Kreyenfeld, 2000. "Educational attainment and first births: East Germany before and after unification," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2000-011, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  7. Willis, Robert J, 1973. "A New Approach to the Economic Theory of Fertility Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S14-64, Part II, .
  8. Alícia Adserà, 2004. "Changing fertility rates in developed countries. The impact of labor market institutions," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 17-43, February.
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  10. Stefan Bender & Annette Kohlmann & Stefan Lang, 2003. "Women, work, and motherhood: changing employment penalties for motherhood in West Germany after 1945 - a comparative analysis of cohorts born in 1934-1971," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2003-006, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  11. C. Katharina Spiess & Jan Ondrich & Qing Yang, 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, vol. 9(3), pages 247-266.
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  15. Ronsen, Marit & Sundstrom, Marianne, 1996. "Maternal Employment in Scandinavia: A Comparison of the After-Birth Employment Activity of Norwegian and Swedish Women," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 267-85, August.
  16. FFF1Michaela NNN1Kreyenfeld, 2004. "Fertility Decisions in the FRG and GDR: An Analysis with Data from the German Fertility and Family Survey," Demographic Research Special Collections, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 3(11), pages 275-318, April.
  17. Barbara S. Grave & Christoph M. Schmidt, 2012. "The Dynamics of Assortative Mating in Germany," Ruhr Economic Papers 0346, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  18. Marit RÃnsen & Marianne SundstrÃm, 1996. "Maternal employment in Scandinavia: A comparison of the after-birth employment activity of Norwegian and Swedish women," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 267-285.
  19. Kiefer, Nicholas M, 1988. "Economic Duration Data and Hazard Functions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 646-79, June.
  20. Eiko Kenjoh, 2005. "New Mothers' Employment and Public Policy in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Japan," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 19(s1), pages 5-49, December.
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