Persistence in Women’s Work-Family Life Course Trajectories across Generations in Germany

Karsten Hank, University of Cologne
Marita Jacob, University of Cologne
Philipp Lersch, University of Cologne
Sergi Vidal, Centre for Demographic Studies

We study intergenerational continuities within families in women’s work and family life courses, and the specific life course patterns that persist from one generation to the next. We use a within-dyad approach to sequence analysis and examine combined work-family trajectories between the ages 18 to 35 of two generations of women within the same German families drawn from the Socio-Economic Panel. Overall, we find little evidence for life course persistence within families. Work-family life courses are more likely to persist with increasing maternal education, and when trajectories combine extended participation in education and in the labour market, with late family formation. Despite unparalleled changes in work-family patterns in East Germany after reunification, we do not find evidence for lower life course persistence in East German than in West German families. Our findings contribute to improve and nuance our understanding of the reproduction of female life courses across generations.

Presented in Session 49: Work and Family Trajectories over the Lifecourse