The compatibility between work and family life - an empirical study of second birth risks in West Germany and France

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Abstract

In this study, we compare second birth risks in France and West Germany using data from the Family and Fertility Survey (FFS). Second birth risks in France are higher than in West Germany and we investigate whether this phenomenon relates to different institutional constraints regarding the compatibility between work and family life. Considering that education is a good indicator for higher career and income prospects, one would assume that highly educated women encounter low fertility rates in a society that makes it hard to combine both domains. Our results, however, show that second birth risks are higher for highly educated women than for women with lower education in both countries. Nevertheless, the positive effect of women’s education on second birth risks is strong and stable in the case of France only. In West Germany, the positive effect is a weak one and it weakens even further after controlling for the eduaction level of the partner. In France, the strong positive effect of women’s education on second birth risks remains unchanged, even after controlling for the partners’ characteristics and other control variables. Our conclusion is that since in France the compatibility between work and family life is relatively high, highly educated women turn their education into work opportunities and income. In West Germany, where work and family life are rather incompatible, women often have to make a decision between an employment career and motherhood as two exclusive life options. In such a situation, it is primarily the partners’ economic situation that influences fertility. "[...] The paper is structured as follows: In the next section, we go into some demographic and socio-economic details – what has changed during the last decades, what are the similarities, what are the differences? In Section 3, we provide an overview of some of the most important public policies that influence the childbearing process, concentrating on the availability and quality of public childcare arrangements, parental leave schemes and monetary support for families. In Section 4, we present our theoretical framework, focussing on the economic view of demographic behavior (e.g. Becker 1993, Ermisch 1988, Mincer and Polachek 1982) and some aspects of Welfare State Theory (e.g. Esping-Andersen 1990, 1999; Gornick, Meyers, Ross 1997; Anttonen, Sipilä 1996). We will also present our main hypotheses here. In the empirical part, Sections 5 and 6, the data sets and variables are introduced and the influence of education on the transition to second birth will be analyzed by using event-history techniques and estimating a piecewise-constant model." (Introduction, S. 3f.) Inhalt 1. Introduction 2. Demographic and socio-economic changes since 1960 Figure 1: Activity Status of West German and French women, with and without children. West Germany 1992 (cohorts 1952-72), France 1994 (cohorts 1944-73) 3. The institutional framework 3.1 Public childcare Figure 2: Employment rates of West German and French mothers by number of children (aged under 25) and age of youngest child (in %), 1997 3.2 Parental Leave Schemes 3.3 Monetary support of families 4. Theoretical considerations and hypotheses 5. Data and Method 5.1 The Data Set 5.2 Method 5.3 Variables Table 3: Family policy measures in Germany and France Table 4: Distribution of respondents according to the various levels of the time fixed covariates. Absolute and relative number of respondents Table 5: Distribution of time at risk according to the various time-varying covariates. Absolute and relative number of person-months, West Germany and France Table 6: Distribution of time at risk according to the time-varying covariate employment status. Absolute and relative number of person months, West Germany only 5.4 Descriptive Analysis Figure 6: Distribution of family size in West Germany (cohort 1953-57) and France (cohort 1955-59) Figure 7: Women with higer education by number of children (in %). West Germany (cohort 1953-57), France (cohort 1955-59) Figure 8: Transition to second birth by highest level of education of respondent (Kaplan-Meiersurvival-curve). West Germany (cohort 1952-72) Figure 9: Transition to second birth by highest level of education of respondent (Kaplan-Meiersurvival-curve). France (cohort 1944-73) 6. Results Figure 10: Absolute risk per 1000 person-months: Table 7: Second birth risk for West German women. Cohort 1952-72 Table 8: Second birth risk for French women. Cohort 1944-73 Table 9a: Transition to second birth for West German women: Interaction between highest level of education of respondent and age at first birth (controlled for education of partner, employment status, marital status, calendar time and place of residence at interview) Table 9b: Transition to second birth for French women: Interaction between highest level of education of respondent and age at first birth (controlled for education of partner, employment status, marital status, calendar time and place of residence at interview) Table 10a: Transition to the second child for West German women: Interaction between woman’s highest level of education and partner’s highest level of education (controlled for age at first birth, employment status, marital status, calendar time, residence at interview Table 10b: Transition to the second child for French women: Interaction between woman’s highest level of education and partner’s highest level of education (controlled for age at first birth, employment status, marital status, calendar time, residence at interview) Table 11: Second conception risk for West German women (two additional variables) Table 12: Transition to second birth for West German women: Interaction between highest level of education of the partner and employment status after first birth (controlled for education of respondent, age at first birth, marital status, calendar time and place of residence at age 15) 7. Conclusion Acknowledgement 8. References 9. Appendix Table 1: Number of cases included and excluded from the analysis. West German female cohort 1952-72 Table 2: Number of cases included and excluded from the analysis. French female cohort 1944-73 (unweighted) Figure 3: Education finished before the birth of the first child. Distribution of West German and French women (n=1,293 and n=2,063) Figure 4: Educational homogamy in West Germany. West German women cohort 1952-72 with at least one child (n=1,293) Figure 5: Educational homogamy in France. French women cohort 1944-73 with at least one child (n=2,063)

Author-supplied keywords

  • Arbeit
  • Bildung
  • Bundesrepublik Deutschland
  • Deutschland
  • Ereignisanalyse
  • Ereignisdatenanalyse
  • FFS
  • Familie
  • Familienerweiterung
  • Familienpolitik
  • Family and Fertility Survey
  • Fertilität
  • France
  • Frankreich
  • Frauenerwerbstätigkeit
  • Geburtenverhalten
  • Germany
  • Kinderzahl
  • Lebenslauf
  • Lebensverlauf
  • Müttererwerbstätigkeit
  • Vereinbarkeit
  • Westdeutschland
  • Wohlfahrtsregime
  • Wohlfahrtsstaat
  • compatibility
  • education
  • event history analysis
  • familienpolitische Maßnahmen
  • family
  • family enlargement
  • family policy
  • female employment
  • fertility
  • life course
  • mothers' employment
  • number of children
  • reconciliation
  • second birth
  • second child
  • welfare regime
  • welfare state
  • western Germany
  • work
  • zweite Geburt
  • zweites Kind

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Authors

  • Katja Köppen

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