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Conference Paper IZA European Summer School in Labor Economics

Employment Decisions of European Women after Childbirth


Publication date

07 Apr 2006


In this paper we want to describe and compare transitions of new mothers into employment in several European Countries. Although female labour participation has been increased everywhere, women are still likely to interrupt their career when they have a child. Using data from ECHP, we select women who used to work and we observe how long they take to come back to the labour market after the childbirth. The main purpose is to compare how long they take in different countries, which kind of jobs they get and which characteristics, of the woman, of the household and of the labour market, make these transitions more likely. In order to estimate the factors which influence the return to work, we use a discrete hazard model. First results show that, while women in different countries display different probabilities of breaking the career when they have children, almost everywhere the decision to work is strongly correlated to the woman's human capital and to the characteristics of the previous job. These results suggest the chance of coming back to work is influenced by woman attachment to work and by the level of job protection provided by her last work experience. In countries where part time is more widespread, a part time job seems to be the most useful mean to reconcile work and family; while in countries where it is less diffused, the probability of working part time is mostly determined by a previous part time experience.

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  3. Employment Decisions of European Women after Childbirth

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