Loading Events
  • This event has passed.

Gundula ZOCH (University of Oldenburg) « Motherhood penalties in job tasks ? Longitudinal evidence from Germany »

December 15, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm

Sociology Seminar: Thursdays

Time: 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm –
Date: 15th of January 2022
Place: ZOOM

Gundula ZOCH (University of Oldenburg & LIfBi – Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories) « Motherhood penalties in job tasks ? Longitudinal evidence from Germany »

Abstract : Women with children tend to earn less, have lower status and fewer chances for career progression than childless women. Yet, it remains unclear whether all women are influenced by the transition to motherhood in equal measure. The more to lose perspective suggests that highly educated women suffer a larger motherhood penalty than less educated women. Women with more education have higher returns to experience; child birth may hence cause larger decreases in skill use, which is related to wages and career progression. Others expect fewer disadvantages following child birth for highly educated mothers because their privileges allow them to compensate for consequences of career disruptions. Empirical results thus far are mixed; one reason may be that most studies focus on the motherhood penalty in labor market outcomes such as wages and status. There is a lack of studies that directly assess variations by education in changes to mothers’ skill use.

We use data from the adult cohort of the German National Education Panel Study (NEPS-SC6, 2008-2020) to examine the motherhood penalty in skill use. First, we investigate whether skill use is affected by motherhood and whether these changes vary by mothers’ educational level. Second, in order to scrutinize possible mechanisms, we examine whether the penalty varies by interruption duration, pre-birth careers and employment transition after re-entry. We therefore analyze repeated measures of work skill use that are based on the task approach presuming that skills can only be productive and rewarded if they are put to use. Disruptions to productivity caused by motherhood hence should be visible in changes in skill use. First results of fixed-effects models indicate a consistent negative impact of childbirth on mother’s skill use, most pronounced for analytical, manual, and routine skills. Additional analyses suggest larger changes for mothers with lower levels of educational attainment and those with occupational change. Conversely, tasks that are associated with new content, problems or managerial skills increase sharply, particularly for those with higher levels of education.


Joint work with : Wiebke Schulz (University of Bremen)


Hadrien LE MER, Etienne OLLION, Patrick PRÄG (Pôle de Sociologie du CREST)

Sponsors :