Employment characteristics and first birth in Great Britain and Western Germany
255 pages. Rostock, Universität Rostock (2006)
The dissertation looks into the importance of employment characteristics for transitions to the first child in Great Britain and western Germany. Although employment and parenthood are difficult to combine in both countries, due especially to a poor childcare infrastructure, the two countries diverge quite strongly in their institutional contexts in other respects. After discussing life-course theory, economic theories of fertility, and describing differences in family policies and the labor market structure between the two countries, hypotheses are tested concerning the importance of opportunity costs, family-friendliness of the employment situation, employment duration and tenure, as well as the partner´s income and career resources on risks of first birth. Support was found for the importance of family-friendliness of the employment situation in Britain, where leave durations are comparatively short. The amount of employment experience that has been acquired is found to impact transitions to the first child as well. There is also evidence that women in Britain responded to the special tenure requirements for maternity leave in timing first births. No clear effect of women´s income was found in either country, which however is likely to be related to diverging time patterns of fertility for different income groups. The partner´s income and, independent of this, work hours, were found to have positive effects on first birth transitions in both countries.