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The compatibility between work and family life – an empirical study of second birth risks in West Germany and France

Katja Köppen, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

We compare second birth risks in France and West Germany using data from the Family and Fertility Survey. Second birth risks are higher for highly educated women than for women with less education in both countries. The positive effect of women’s education is strong and stable in the case of France only. In West Germany, the positive effect is a weak one and it weakens even further after controlling for the education level of the partner. The positive effect of French women’s education remains unchanged, even after controlling for the partners’ characteristics. Since in France the compatibility between work and family life is relatively high, highly educated women turn their education into work opportunities and income. West German women often have to make a decision between an employment career and motherhood as two exclusive life options. In such a situation, it is primarily the partners’ economic situation that influences fertility.

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Presented in Session 178: Sustaining replacement fertility: international comparative studies