FRAL - Appel Franco-allemand en sciences humaines et sociales

Labour Market Consequences of Motherhood in France and Germany – LMCM

Submission summary

The motherhood penalty on wages and employment is a major source of gender inequality in
the labour market, whose reduction is a stated aim of the European Parliament and the Council
on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment for men and
women. We propose studying its causes, using large administrative data for France and
Germany that allow us to link employers to employees and look at micro mechanisms in a
comparative setup. Specifically, we aim to jointly study the role of firms, human capital
depreciation and gender norms in shaping the labour market effects of children in different
institutional and policy contexts.
Our research project has two main objectives: (1) Synchronizing and harmonizing of high
quality administrative data that exist in relatively similar forms in Germany and France and
preparing replication tools for the scientific community. (2) Using the resulting database to
compare both countries with regard to family-related employment interruptions and
subsequent maternal career and income developments.
As there are almost no registry datasets prepared for comparative cross-national research, the
resulting data will be of high value to the research community. Comparatively analysing the
drivers of the motherhood wage penalty in France and Germany illustrates the potential of this
data and meaningfully contributes to the literature on gender inequality in the labour market.
Registry data allows us to be the first to look at how mothers sort into firms in different countries
and to thus directly compare if labour market specific mechanisms through which childbirth
affects economic gender inequalities differ according to national context.
France and Germany represent a compelling case study, as both countries followed different
paths in how fast they integrated women into the labour force, in implementing family policies
and in supporting of dual earner couples. France provides extensive all day childcare services
enabling women a fast re-entry into the labour market and has a considerably lower
motherhood wage and employment penalty than Germany.
To understand the mechanisms creating the motherhood penalty we use linked employeremployee
to estimate exact employment and wage penalties for children on a year by year
basis after childbirth. We aim to look at the extent to which wage and employment reductions
are the result of mothers sorting into more low-wage, part-time oriented and gendersegregated
firms. We expect that firm effects and maternity induced gender-workplace
segregation, matter more in producing a high motherhood penalty in Germany, where a long
detachment from the labour market and part-time work are more common. Finally, we aim to
look at how local differences in gender norms affect the wage penalty, expecting to find a
greater influence on careers in Germany, which has an institutional setting in which returning
to full time work after birth is less of a societal norm.

Project coordination

Ivaylo PETEV (Centre de Recherche en Economie et Stastistique - CREST)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


CED centre d'estudis demogràfics
CREST Centre de Recherche en Economie et Stastistique - CREST
IAB Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung

Help of the ANR 288,368 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: March 2021 - 36 Months

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