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After the Fall of the WallLife Courses in the Transformation of East Germany$
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Martin Diewald, Anne Goedicke, and Karl Ulrich Mayer

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780804752084

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804752084.001.0001

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Family Formation in Times of Abrupt Social and Economic Change

Family Formation in Times of Abrupt Social and Economic Change

(p.170) Chapter Eight Family Formation in Times of Abrupt Social and Economic Change
After the Fall of the Wall
Johannes Huinink, Michaela Kreyenfeld
Stanford University Press

This chapter, which compares the fertility patterns of East German women born in 1971 with those born between 1959 and 1961, provides descriptive statistics on first birth, second birth, and first marriage. It shows how drastically changes on the macro level manifest themselves in individual life course patterns, examining two potential explanations for the postponement of fertility: “women's work commitments” and “economic uncertainties.” Being faced with a more competitive labor market and greater career options, particularly highly educated women should have been inclined to postpone parenthood. Unemployment and other forms of employment uncertainty should lead to a postponement of family formation. Two major results stand out. First, the increase in educational participation and the stronger incompatibility of child rearing and education explains a good part of the postponement of first birth after unification. Second, against expectations, employment uncertainties do not under all circumstances contribute to delayed fertility.

Keywords:   fertility patterns, East German women, fertility postponement, unemployment, competitive labor market

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