Effects of Early Life Family Events on Women's Late Life Labour Market Behaviour: An Analysis of the Relationship between Childbearing and Retirement in Western Germany

Karsten Hank, University of Mannheim

The relationship between a woman's reproductive history and her entry into retirement is not well-investigated yet. Will mothers exit the workforce earlier than childless women (as they have a weaker labour market orientation; as they are more likely to have a 'male breadwinner' in the household), or will they work longer to make-up for employment interruptions during their reproductive phase? We exploit data from the German Socio-Economic Panel to estimate discrete-time logit models for women's transition to retirement, using detailed information on the individual's fertility biography as main explanatory variables. Our primary finding is that having children delays a woman's exit from the labour force. This effect tends to be stronger for mothers who experienced their first birth relatively late. Postponing both fertility and retirement might be driven by a relatively strong work orientation. However, we do not find any influence of maternal employment during a child's preschool years on the decision to retire.

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Presented in Session 157: Demography of Retirement