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The changing life cycle pattern in female employment: a comparison of Germany and the UK


  • Fitzenberger, Bernd
  • Wunderlich, Gaby


It is often noted that employment rates of females have been rising during the last decades. However, in contrast to men, women are often part-time employed and the allocation of working time over the life-cycle is linked to family formation. In addition, employment rates may differ across skill groups and countries due to differences in incentives to work and in labor market attachment. This paper analyzes empirically macroeconomic trends and life-cycle profiles in full-time and part-time employment of different skill groups of women in the UK and West Germany. The analysis is based on large cross{sectional data sets for a time period of 20 years. We find that patterns of part-time and full-time employment are surprisingly different across skill groups and countries. In particular, the life-cycle patterns are such that full-time employment declines and part-time employment increases with age in both countries. Time trends do not change in a monotonous way across skill groups and they differ by country. There is almost no evidence for a positive time trend in part-time employment thus the strong increase in part-time rates in both countries can mainly be attributed to composition effects. Our findings are based on an empirical model taking the effects of time, age, and birth cohort membership simultaneously into account.

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  • Fitzenberger, Bernd & Wunderlich, Gaby, 2002. "The changing life cycle pattern in female employment: a comparison of Germany and the UK," ZEW Discussion Papers 02-70, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:535

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    Cited by:

    1. Hanel Barbara & Riphahn Regina T., 2012. "The Employment of Mothers – Recent Developments and their Determinants in East and West Germany," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 232(2), pages 146-176, April.
    2. Clara Welteke & Katharina Wrohlich, 2016. "Peer Effects in Parental Leave Decisions," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1600, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Kuhlenkasper, Torben & Kauermann, Göran, 2010. "Duration of maternity leave in Germany: A case study of nonparametric hazard models and penalized splines," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 466-473, June.
    4. Rob Euwals & Marike Knoef & Daniel Vuuren, 2011. "The trend in female labour force participation: what can be expected for the future?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 729-753, May.
    5. Torben Kuhlenkasper & Göran Kauermann, 2009. "Duration of Maternity Leave in Germany: A Case Study of Nonparametric Hazard Models and Penalized Splines," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 213, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    6. Kuhlenkasper, Torben & Kauermann, Göran, 2010. "Female wage profiles: An additive mixed model approach to employment breaks due to childcare," HWWI Research Papers 2-18, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    7. Longhi, Simonetta, 2007. "On-the-job search and job competition: relevance and wage impact in the UK," ISER Working Paper Series 2007-06, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    8. Joel Karlsson & Jonas Månsson, 2014. "Getting a full-time job as a part-time unemployed: How much does spatial context matter?," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 53(1), pages 179-195, August.
    9. Almut Balleer & Ramon Gomez-Salvador & Jarkko Turunen, 2014. "Labour force participation across Europe: a cohort-based analysis," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 46(4), pages 1385-1415, June.

    More about this item


    Part-time and Full-time Employment; Females; Cohort Analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination


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