Maternal Labor Market Return, Parental Leave Policies, and Gender Inequality in Housework

Pia S. Schober, German Institute for Economic Research

This study investigates how the duration of mothers' employment interruption and their work hours upon return affect the division of domestic work in German and British couples after a birth. The analysis uses fixed-effects models after a first or second birth based on couple data from the British Household Panel Study (1991-2008) and the German Socio-Economic Panel (1985-2009). Parental leave policy variations are used as instrumental variables. The results suggest that mothers perform more housework and child care with increasing duration of their employment interruption after childbirth in both countries. Only maternal child care in East-Germany is unaffected. Mothers’ longer work hours are positively associated with fathers’ domestic work contributions with the exception of paternal child care in East-Germany. The weaker effects of maternal labor market return decisions on couples' child care time in East-Germany compared to West-Germany are in line with institutional and normative differences in child care provision.

  See paper

Presented in Session 183: Work and Family