Is Part-Time Employment after Childbirth a Stepping-Stone into Full-Time Work? A Cohort Study for East and West Germany

Nadiya Kelle, Julia Simonson & Laura Romeu Gordo

Does part-time work support first-time mothers’ employment by providing a stepping-stone into full-time work in Germany? Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel from 1984–2012, this study compares three different age cohorts of first-time East and West German mothers to investigate whether there has been any convergence between East and West Germany in the way women use part-time employment. Results show that mothers in West Germany in all cohorts tended to remain in part-time employment for longer periods than those in East Germany. Part-time employment more often provided a stepping-stone into full-time employment in East Germany than in West Germany. East German women who gave birth after reunification were less likely than older cohorts to experience a transition from part-time to full-time work. Thus, part-time employment not followed by subsequent full-time work has become more common in the East.

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