MPIDR Working Paper

Educational attainment and first births: East Germany before and after unification

Kreyenfeld, M. R.

MPIDR Working Paper WP-2000-011 (Dezember 2000).
Rostock, Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung


There is a general belief that female educational attainment has a delaying effect on the age at first birth. In this paper we argue that the validity of this hypothesis relies on at least three prerequisites. First, that child rearing and employment is incompatible. Second, that a withdrawal from the labor market harms labor market upward mobility. Third, that child rearing responsibilities are shared according to traditional gender roles. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), we analyze the impact of educational attainment on first birth risks in East and West Germany before and after unification. A major result is that, compared to West Germany, the impact of educational attainment on first birth risks is less strong in East Germany. This also applies to the period after unification. We attribute this to the relative abundance of public day care in the East. (AUTHOR)