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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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  2. Pau Baizán & Enriqueta Camps, 2005. "The impact of women's educational and economic resources on fertility. Spanish birth cohorts 1901-1950," Economics Working Papers 891, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
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  9. Elina Pylkkänen & Nina Smith, 2003. "Career Interruptions Due to Parental Leave: A Comparative Study of Denmark and Sweden," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 1, OECD Publishing.
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  14. Apps, Patricia & Rees, Ray, 2001. "Fertility, Female Labor Supply and Public Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 409, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Kluve, Jochen & Tamm, Marcus, 2009. "Evaluation des Gesetzes zum Elterngeld und zur Elternzeit: Studie zu den Auswirkungen des BEEG auf die Erwerbstätigkeit und die Vereinbarkeitsplanung. Endbericht - Juli 2009," RWI Projektberichte, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, number 70844.
  16. 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.
  17. Kluve, Jochen & Tamm, Marcus, 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 145, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
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