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Parenthood and retirement: Gender, cohort, and welfare regime differences

Hank and Korbmacher (2013)

We use retrospective life-history data from the SHARELIFE project for an initial assessment of the long-term relationship between individuals’ reproductive history and retirement in 13 Continental European countries, focussing in particular on possible gender, cohort, and welfare regime differences. Our analysis provides some weak evidence that having (more) children is associated with later retirement among men, reflecting a continuation of the male provider role well into the late career phase. When distinguishing between women born before and after 1940, we detect striking cohort differences in retirement behaviours of mothers and childless individuals: while mothers belonging to the older cohorts tend to exit the labour force later than their childless counterparts, those born post-1940 exhibit a greater propensity to enter retirement earlier. This finding is discussed against the background of cross-national (i.e. welfare regime) differences in younger mothers’ employment opportunities as well as differential economic and institutional opportunities for women (mothers, respectively) to retire early.

Published in: European Societies, 15 (3), pp. 446-461. [Link]