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Wind of Change? Cultural Determinants of Maternal Labor Supply

Barbara Boelmann, Anna Raute and Uta Schönberg
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Barbara Boelmann: CReAM ; Univ. Köln ; University College London
Anna Raute: CReAM ; CEPR ; Queen Mary University of London
Uta Schönberg: Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg, Germany ; CReAM ; University College London

No 202030, IAB-Discussion Paper from Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany]

Abstract: "Does the culture in which a woman grows up influence her labor market decisions once she has had a child? To what extent might the culture of her present social environment shape maternal labor supply? To address these questions, we exploit the setting of German reunification. A state socialist country, East Germany strongly encouraged mothers to participate in the labor market full-time, whereas West Germany propagated a more traditional male breadwinner-model. After reunification, these two cultures were suddenly thrown together, with consequent increased social interactions between East and West Germans through migration and commuting. A comparison of East and West German mothers on both sides of the former Inner German border within the same commuting zone shows that culture matters. Indeed, East German mothers return to work more quickly and for longer hours than West German mothers even two decades after reunification. Second, in exploiting migration across this old border, we document a strong asymmetry in the persistence of the culture in which women were raised. Whereas East German female migrants return to work earlier and work longer hours than their West German colleagues even after long exposure to the more traditional West German culture, West German migrants adjust their post-birth labor supply behavior nearly entirely to that of their East German colleagues. Finally, taking advantage of differential inflows of East German migrants across West German firms in the aftermath of reunification, we show that even a partial exposure to East German colleagues induces “native” West German mothers to accelerate their return to work after childbirth, suggesting that migration might be a catalyst for cultural change." (Author's abstract, IAB-Doku) ((en))

Keywords: Bundesrepublik Deutschland; Ostdeutschland; Westdeutschland; Auswirkungen; Binnenwanderung; Dauer; Determinanten; Erwerbsunterbrechung; Erwerbsverhalten; Frauenerwerbstätigkeit; Berufsrückkehrerinnen; kulturelle Faktoren; Kulturwandel; Migranten; Mütter; regionale Herkunft; regionaler Vergleich; soziale Normen; soziale Umwelt; staatlicher Zusammenschluss; Arbeitskräfteangebot; Arbeitszeit; 1975-2010 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J01 J20 Z10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 51 pages
Date: 2020-10-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-evo, nep-lab and nep-soc
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Handle: RePEc:iab:iabdpa:202030