Volume 40 - Article 48 | Pages 1413–1440

The gendered division of labor and its perceived fairness: Implications for childbearing in Germany

By Katja Köppen, Heike Trappe

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Date received:26 Mar 2018
Date published:30 May 2019
Word count:7923
Keywords:division of childcare, division of household work, family formation, second child


Background: Recently it has been claimed that gender equality and gender equity in the family tend to increase fertility. The strength of this association, however, depends on prevailing gender relations and the level of social support of employment and family within a society.

Objective: We wish to improve our understanding of the relationship between gender equality, gender equity, and fertility by investigating the impact of the actual division of paid and unpaid labor on first- and second-birth fertility in Germany while including in our analyses a repeatedly measured indicator of gender equity that captures the subjective perception of fairness of this division.

Methods: Using nine waves of the German Family Panel (pairfam), we apply discrete-time logistic regression models to cohorts of young women and men in coresidential unions to determine whether a birth occurs in a given year while using measures of gender equality and gender equity as lagged time-varying covariates.

Results: We find that an arrangement in which the woman is in charge of routine housework and the division of paid and unpaid work is perceived as fair is positively associated with family formation. The perception of a fair division of work is no prerequisite for continued childbearing. Yet women’s responsibility for domestic work facilitates family extension.

Contribution: This paper extends the literature on the relationship between gender equality, gender equity, and family outcomes by using prospective panel data to capture attitudinal and behavioral changes over the life course more fully than has previously been done.

Author's Affiliation

Katja Köppen - Universität Rostock, Germany [Email]
Heike Trappe - Universität Rostock, Germany [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Intergenerational transmission of fertility timing in Germany
Volume 38 - Article 46

» Second births in western Germany and France
Volume 14 - Article 14

» Differences in Family Policies and the Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce: A Comparison between the former East and West Germany
Volume 6 - Article 11

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