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10. April 2013

SOEP Brown Bag Seminar

The Association between Educational Fields and Parenthood: The Question of 'How'


10. April 2013
12:30 - 13:30


DIW Berlin im Quartier 110
Room 5.2.010
Mohrenstraße 58
10117 Berlin


Anja Oppermann (Universität Köln)

Research on education and fertility has been enriched by studies that take the educational field into account next to the educational level. But what causes the association between educational fields and fertility? This paper contributes to the existing literature by examining how characteristics of educational fields are related to the transition to parenthood and the timing of the first birth.

The data come from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). The analysis focusses on women in Western Germany, who hold a vocational or university degree and did not become mothers prior to graduation. Discrete Event History Models are applied to examine the impact of the share of women, the probability for employment in the public sector, the probability of part-time employment, the occupational specificity and the income potential of the educational field a woman is educated in on the transition to parenthood. To examine the impact of these characteristics on the timing of the first birth, two time axes are compared: the years since graduation and age.

The relationship between the share of women in a field and the transition rates to parenthood appears to be u-shaped, with high transition rates for women educated in fields with a low or an outstandingly high share of women. A negative relationship is found between the probability of public sector employment in a field and transition to parenthood, while the probability to work part-time positively impacts on the transition to parenthood. The occupational specificity of a field only impacts on the timing: women educated in fields with a high occupational specificity tend to postpone the birth of a first child but catch-up later. No impact of income potential of a field is found.