MPIDR Working Paper

Employment after childbearing: a comparative study of Italy and Norway

Muszynska, M. M.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2004-030, 37 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (December 2004)
Open Access


In this study we look at the circumstances under which motherhood and employment are compatible. Comparing two countries, Italy and Norway, we analyze the impact of macro factors and individual characteristics on employment decisions of first- and second-time mothers. Our results show that in Norway, where flexible forms of employment are a popular way to reconcile family life and employment, not only many women start to work when their child is small, but the fertility is also relatively high. In Italy, characterized by high rigidities of the labor market and where flexible forms of employment are hardly available, relatively few mothers enter employment and fertility is low. In addition, we found that in both countries better educated women and women with more work experience return to their jobs relatively soon after childbirth. The majority of women with a low level of education and who did not work before the childbirth do not take up work when the child is small.
Keywords: Italy, Norway, female employment, fertility, working life
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.