MPIDR Working Paper

Perceptions of job instability and the prospects of parenthood. A comparison between Eastern and Western Germany

Bernardi, L., Klärner, A., von der Lippe, H.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2006-017, 45 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (June 2006)
Revised May 2007. Now published in the European Journal of Population This working paper has been published. See the link above for further information.
Open Access


The paper contributes to a debate on recent fertility developments in eastern and western Germany as well as on the lacking convergence of family formation patterns between the two regions. We address the relationship between the perception of instable employment careers and economic insecurity in relation to family formation intentions. We conduct a thematic and interpretative analysis of problem-centered interviews with stratified sub-samples of eastern and western Germans in their late twenties. Our findings show considerable differences between the two regions. In western Germany stable employment precedes family formation following a rigid sequential pattern, whereas in eastern Germany employment stability and family formation are conceived and practiced as parallel investments
Keywords: Germany, family formation, labor force participation, qualitative methods, social change
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.