A Cross-National Perspective on Unemployment and First Births

Aufsätze referiert extern - Web of Science

Christian Schmitt

In: European Journal of Population 28 (2012), 3, S. 303-335


This article investigates the impact of unemployment on the likelihood of having a first child. Using micro-data from the European Community Household Panel, I apply event history methods to analyze first-birth decisions in France, West Germany, and the UK (1994-2001). The results highlight weak negative effects of unemployment onfamily formation among men, which can be attributed to the inability to financially support a family. Among women, unemployment exerts a positive effect on the propensity to have a first child in Germany and the UK, where institutional settings aggravate work-family conflicts. Unemployment increases the likelihood of family formation among women with a moderate or low level of education. This does not, however, generally apply to French women or to highly educated women in Germany and the UK, who, when unemployed, favor a quick return to work over motherhood.

Christian Schmitt

Research Associate in the German Socio-Economic Panel study Department

Keywords: Fertility, First birth, Cross-national comparison, Unemployment, Welfare states
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