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The Impact of Child and Maternal Health Indicators on Female Labor Force Participation after Childbirth - Evidence for Germany


Annalena Dunkelberg


affiliation not provided to SSRN

C. Katharina Spiess


German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

March 2007

SOEP Paper No. 7

Abstract:     
This paper analyzes the influence of children's health and mothers' physical and mental wellbeing on female labor force participation after childbirth in Germany. Our analysis uses data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) study, which enables us to measure children's health based on the occurrence of severe health problems including mental and physical disabilities, hospitalizations, and preterm births. Since child health is measured at a very young age, we can rule out any of the reverse effects of maternal employment on child health identified in US studies. Within a two-year time period, we investigate the influence of these indicators on various aspects of female labor force participation after childbirth, including continuous labor force participation in the year of childbirth and the transition to employment in the year following childbirth. Since the majority of women in Germany do not go back to work within a year after childbirth, we also investigate their intention to return to work, and the preferred number of working hours. We find that the child's severe health problems have a significant negative effect on the mothers' labor force participation and a significant positive effect on her preferred number of working hours, but that hospitalizations or preterm births have no significant effect. For the mothers' own health, we find a significant negative effect of poor mental and physical wellbeing on female labor force participation within a year of childbirth. To our knowledge, this is the first empirical study of this kind on data outside the US.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 27

Keywords: Female labour supply, Childhealth, Well-being

JEL Classification: J22, J23, I19

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Date posted: February 13, 2008 ; Last revised: February 17, 2008

Suggested Citation

Dunkelberg, Annalena and Spiess, C. Katharina, The Impact of Child and Maternal Health Indicators on Female Labor Force Participation after Childbirth - Evidence for Germany (March 2007). SOEP Paper No. 7. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1092808 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1092808

Contact Information

Annalena Dunkelberg
affiliation not provided to SSRN
C. Katharina Spiess (Contact Author)
German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )
Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany
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