The Part-Time Revolution: Changes in the Parenthood Effect on Women's Employment in Austria across the Birth Cohorts from 1940 to 1979

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Abstract

Comparing employment rates of mothers and childless women over the life course across the birth cohorts from 1940 to 1979 in Austria, we address the question of whether the parenthood effect on employment has declined. By following synthetic cohorts of mothers and childless women up to retirement age, we can study both the short-term and long-term consequences of having a child. We consider employment participation as well as working time and also perform analyses by educational level. Our study is based on the Austrian microcensus, conducted between 1986 and 2016, and uses descriptive methods, logistic regression models, and decomposition analysis. The results show that the increase in the proportion of part-time work has led to a declining work volume of mothers with young children, despite employment rates of mothers having increased across cohorts. Return to the workplace is progressively concentrated when the child is 3-5 years old, but the parenthood effect has become weaker only from the time children enter school. Part-time employment is primarily adopted (at least with younger children) by highly educated mothers and often remains a long-term arrangement.

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Riederer, B., & Berghammer, C. (2020). The Part-Time Revolution: Changes in the Parenthood Effect on Women’s Employment in Austria across the Birth Cohorts from 1940 to 1979. European Sociological Review, 36(2), 284–302. https://doi.org/10.1093/esr/jcz058

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