Perceptions of job instability and the prospects of parenthood. A comparison between Eastern and Western Germany [report]

Laura Bernardi, Andreas Klärner, Holger von der Lippe
2006 unpublished
This article contributes to the ongoing debate on the economic determinants of fertility behavior by addressing the role of job insecurity in couples' intentions concerning parenthood and its timing. It starts from the hypothesis that cultural values moderate individuals' reactions to job insecurity and the way in which it is related to family formation. With a systematic thematic content analysis of a set of semi-structured interviews with childless men and women around the age of thirty in
more » ... tern and western Germany, we are able to show that there are substantial differences in the consequences that job insecurity has on intentions to have a first child. These differences are mainly due to different expectations about the interaction between work and family careers and differences in the way in which priorities within a life course perspective are defined. In western Germany, a relatively secure job career is expected to precede family formation and this sequence of transitions is rather rigid, whereas in eastern Germany job security and family formation are thought of and practiced as parallel investments. We suggest that the lack of convergence in family formation patterns between eastern and western Germany after the unification of the country in 1990 is partially related to different attitudes towards job insecurity in the two contexts.
doi:10.4054/mpidr-wp-2006-017 fatcat:mkmwzcvgdncsvldzy74rpfxwta