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Understanding differences in labour market attachment of single mothers in Great Britain and West Germany

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  • Zagel, Hannah

Abstract

This paper investigates the relationships between single mothers' demographic and socio-economic circumstances and differences in their labour market attachment in Great Britain and West Germany. Single mothers' employment is a key issue in current policy debates in both countries, as well as in research on the major challenges of contemporary welfare states. The heterogeneity of the group of women who experience single motherhood poses a challenge to social policy. To complicate the matter, single motherhood is not static but a result of family life dynamics. This paper provides an empirical insight into differences in labour market attachment of single mothers, investigating the demographic and socio-economic factors that distinguish careers dominated by full-time, part-time or non-employment. Women in the British and German contexts are considered in order to explore potential differences between two welfare state settings. Data from the British Household Panel Survey (1991-2008) and the German Socio-Economic Panel (1991-2008) are used for regression analysis. The findings suggest that, in both countries, entering single motherhood at a young age is associated with longer periods of non-employment; vocational qualifications go together with careers dominated by part-time employment; and single motherhood with school-age children allows for full-time employment careers, which are also facilitated by high education attainments. The analyses also suggest that, compared to German mothers, part-time employment is a less common track for British single mothers.

Suggested Citation

  • Zagel, Hannah, 2015. "Understanding differences in labour market attachment of single mothers in Great Britain and West Germany," Working papers of the ZeS 03/2015, University of Bremen, Centre for Social Policy Research (ZeS).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zeswps:032015
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/110617/1/826038050.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Schober, Pia & Scott, Jacqueline, 2012. "Maternal Employment and Gender Role Attitudes: Dissonance Among British Men and Women in the Transition to Parenthood," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 514-530.
    2. Susan McDaniel & Paul Bernard, 2011. "Life Course as a Policy Lens: Challenges and Opportunities," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 37(s1), pages 1-13, February.
    3. Karsten Hank & Michaela R. 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.
    4. Marco Francesconi & Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2007. "The Socioeconomic Consequences of "In-Work" Benefit Reform for British Lone Mothers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(1).
    5. Paul Gregg & Susan Harkness & Sarah Smith, 2009. "Welfare Reform and Lone Parents in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(535), pages 38-65, February.
    6. Clare Lyonette & Gayle Kaufman & Rosemary Crompton, 2011. "‘We both need to work’," Work, Employment & Society, British Sociological Association, vol. 25(1), pages 34-50, March.
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