Maternal labor market return and domestic work after childbirth in Britain and Germany
This study investigates how the duration of maternal labor market interruptions and mothers' employment status after return relate to the division of domestic work in couples after childbirth in West Germany, East Germany, and Britain. It extends the literature by considering how these two aspects of postnatal labor market return decisions of mothers may give rise to or counteract growing gender inequality in domestic work afterbirth events. Using data on 826 British and 1614 German new parent couples based on the British Household Panel Study (BHPS) (1991–2008) and on the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) (1990–2010), I apply fixed-effects panel models. Mothers perform more housework with increasing length of their employment interruptions across the three contexts. For childcare, longer time-outs increase mothers' childcare share in West Germany but not in East Germany. This result is in line with institutional variations in day-care provision. Across contexts, mothers' full-time returns are associated with a larger reduction in their domestic work share than short time-out. After mothers returned to part-time employment, couples show no or much weaker compensating behaviors for longer previous maternal time-outs than after a full-time return.
Community, Work & Family
Volume and page numbers
16 , 307 -326
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