MPIDR Working Paper

Insecurities in employment and occupational careers and their impact on the transition to fatherhood in Western Germany

Tölke, A.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2003-016, 28 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (May 2003)
Open Access


This paper examines the relationship between work and family among men in western Germany. We investigate the extent to which a difficult start in and insecurities during the working life affect men’s transition to fatherhood, and the degree to which this effect is influenced by characteristics of the respondent´s family of origin and his relationship history. We use proportional hazards models to analyze data of the third “Familiensurvey” conducted by the German Youth Institute in 2000. In accordance with the spillover hypothesis, which assumes that labor market success (or failure) leads to success (or failure) in family behavior, we found that under difficult and/or insecure circumstances in career patterns, men delayed their transition to fatherhood. The delay was caused in particular by unemployment, self-employment or part-time work. A successful career development, however, increases the propensity to have a child soon after having taken a career step. Contrary to the hypothesis of individualization, the social status and the composition of the family of origin still have an impact on the fertility behavior of men in adulthood. In particular, the transition rate to fatherhood was higher if the man grew up with at least one sibling, while losing a parent through death decreased the rate. Both the employment career and the parental home influence the formation of steady relationships, and this explains in part their effect on the transition to fatherhood. Keywords: fertility; labor market; men
Keywords: Germany (Alte Bundesländer)
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.