Labour market integration and the transition to parenthood: a comparison of Germany and the UK

Christian Schmitt, University of Rostock and German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP)

In this contribution I investigate the hypothesis that succeeding educational participation, labour market integration affects first-birth decisions. The analysis focuses on how the institutional orientation alters the likelihood to opt for having a child in the context of labour market mediated insecurities. Hence, I contrast the conservative German welfare state with the liberal market economy of the UK. To account for gender-specific differences in opportunity costs, I consider fertility decisions of men and women. Using event-history methods on longitudinal micro-data (SOEP&BHPS), the results show a significantly reduced first-birth risk among German men with weak occupational integration, as well as in the case of British and German women with pronounced labour market attachment. A lengthy process of occupational integration delays the transition to parenthood for both men and women. This effect is particularly pronounced in Germany and can be relatad to institutional arrangements cultivating the mother's retreat from the labour market.

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Presented in Session 82: Low fertility: present and future