MPIDR Working Paper

Women, work, and motherhood: changing employment penalties for motherhood in West Germany after 1945 - a comparative analysis of cohorts born in 1934-1971

Bender, S., Kohlmann, A., Lang, S.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2003-006, 32 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (February 2003)
Open Access


This paper deals with the effects of entry into motherhood on women’s employment dynamics. Our analysis is based on the complete lifetime working- and income histories of a 1% sample of all persons born between 1934 and 1971 and employed in West Germany sometime between 1975 and 1995. We use the records of women who were employed before the birth of their first child. We apply a semi-parametric hierarchical Bayesian modeling approach simultaneously including several time scales and further covariates whose effects we estimate by MCMC techniques. We investigate short-term consequences of entry into motherhood and their changes over different birth cohorts and thereby take into account the employment histories before the birth of the first child. We conduct two models differentiating between the simple return to the labor market and the return for at least a certain period in order to measure subsequent employment stability. Our results indicate that a higher extent of employment experience, a stronger attachment to the labor market and an employment in white collar jobs reduces the employment penalty for mothers after the birth of their first child.
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.