The Impact of Employment Instability and Education on the First Parenthood Transitions

Berkay Ozcan, Yale University
Karl Ulrich Mayer, Yale University
Joerg Luedicke, Yale University

This paper advances our understanding about the impact of unemployment, career instability and education on fertility behaviour. From the theoretical perspective, the expected sign is ambiguous. Empirical research also reached contradictory results due to relying on different institutional contexts, measures and selective samples with left-censoring. In this paper, we address these theoretical and methodological issues. We use German Life History Study (GLHS) data 1971 cohort. Using monthly information, we adopt a Cox Model to identify the timing of fertility for both men and women. We compare East and West Germany where institutional contexts, labor markets and values exhibit almost orthogonal patterns. Our preliminary results show that unemployment has a strong negative effect for men everywhere and for women only in West Germany and career instability affects negatively only the women in East Germany. We also present results for the variation in the impact of covariates by education and partner’s characteristics.

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Presented in Session 24: Aspects of the Transition to Parenthood