Work-Family Trajectories in Germany and the United States

Silke Aisenbrey, Yeshiva University
Anette E. Fasang, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

Across advanced societies women’s labor force participation has increased while fertility has declined over the past decades, albeit to varying degrees. To scrutinize the impact of macro-structural contexts on how men and women combine work and family from career entry until midlife, this study compares Germany and the United States. Results using longitudinal data and sequence analysis show that the conservative male breadwinner welfare state in Germany reinforces gender differences in work-family trajectories, whereas the liberal market and residual welfare state in the United States exacerbates differences by social class. Further, the American context provides a more gender-equal playing field for men and women in the most prestigious professional occupations, whereas work-family trajectories are most gendered at the bottom of the social structure. In contrast, in Germany, gendering of work-family trajectories is strong across the entire range of the social structure.

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Presented in Session 8: Labor Force Participation and Family