Families prefer male children in France

Comparison of family policy measures in France, Sweden and Germany with regard to their demographic effects

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2. Fertility and employment in comparison between France, Sweden and Germany
2.1 Fertility rates
2.2 Employment rate of women and men without children in need of care
2.3 Employment rates of women and men with one child in need of care
2.4 Employment rate of women and men with two or more children in need of care
2.5 Real and desired employment patterns in France and Germany
2.6 Summary assessment

3. Family policy measures to promote birth in France, Sweden and Germany
3.1 Income tax calculation
3.2 Parental leave and income replacement benefits in comparison
3.2.1 Parental leave
3.2.2 Income replacement benefits during parental leave
3.2.3 Summary assessment of the regulations on parental leave and parental allowance in a country comparison
3.3 Structure and density of extra-family childcare facilities
3.3.1 Taking care of children between the ages of zero and three years
3.3.2 Taking care of children between the ages of three and six
3.3.3 Summary assessment of childcare facilities outside the family in a country comparison

4. Assessment of family policy measures with regard to their influence on generative behavior in the context of the compatibility of family and work

5. Conclusion

6. Appendix

7. Bibliography

1 Introduction

"The demographic turning point"[1]The way Birg discusses it in his inventory of the same name and discussion of the population decline in Germany and Europe, has already started in almost all developed countries for the past few decades.[2] In a Western European comparison, however, it becomes clear that the fertility rate[3] in Germany, alongside Italy, Spain and Greece, fell the most. While the baby cohorts of the 1960s still had a peak of 2.5 children per woman on average, the birth rate has fallen to an average of 1.37 children per woman in recent decades.[4] Taking into account the increasing number of deaths with continuously low fertility, the eleventh coordinated population projection by the Federal Statistical Office of Wiesbaden predicts a population decline from 82.4 million to 69 to 74 million people by 2050.[5]

Numerous studies have shown that the consequences of demographic change in Germany have already become visible in almost all areas of society, such as social security, the education system and the labor market.[6] In the course of this, the necessity of exerting influence on a family policy motivated by population and social policy became more and more public awareness and the political discourse. The creation of an institutional framework for a better work-life balance is mentioned as a central family policy challenge.[7] The main reasons for this are, on the one hand, the high proportion of around a third of women who remain childless for their entire life[8] and on the other hand, the significant drop in the labor force participation of mothers with children in need of care compared to a relatively high labor force participation of women without children.[9] This negative correlation between the employment of women and mothers as well as the generative behavior leads to the assumption that the "biographical increase in freedom"[10] the woman seems to be limited by an “either / or decision” with regard to family and work. In this context it is often argued that [...] fertility declines [if] the time invested in caring for the child is primarily at the expense of the mother and she [then] often prefers to work. "[11] A European comparison makes it clear, however, that a high labor force participation of women and mothers can be accompanied by a high fertility rate, for example in Sweden and France. Both countries are Europe-wide as "model states" with the strongest family policy commitment to better reconciliation of family and work.[12] A family policy that promotes reconciliation, it is often argued, is characterized in particular by the fact that it enables families - especially mothers - to take care of the child for a limited period of time and, on the other hand, relieves the mother of her caring responsibilities by creating extra-family care options.[13] Based on the assumption that Sweden and France succeed in maintaining a high level of maternal activity and fertility with a family policy that promotes reconciliation, the aim of the present study is to answer the question of which family policy measures are used In France and Sweden, compared to Germany, a better work-life balance is achieved in order to positively influence the generative behavior of the population.

The following analysis of family policy in France, Sweden and Germany is divided into three sections: At the beginning, a comparison of female employment integration and fertility in the three countries is carried out in order to compare the employment behavior of mothers with one or more children in need of care with the employment behavior of women without those in need of care To be able to relate children to one another in relation to the country-specific fertility rate, with the aim of being able to describe the factors “child” and “gainful employment” in their reciprocal effects on a national level. If it turns out that the mutual influence of both factors seems to be particularly high, for example with a falling participation rate of mothers with an increasing number of children in a household, it can be assumed that there is little institutionalization of the compatibility of family and work in the respective country. The opposite is true if the factors mentioned influence one another only slightly.

Then, in the second section, a selection is made of those family policy measures that could have an impact on both employment and population policy. The focus of the consideration shifts to the monetary benefits, i.e. direct and indirect transfer payments, the current entitlements with monetary replacement benefits as well as the benefits in kind in France, Sweden and Germany. The extent to which these influences with regard to the generative behavior and employment of mothers are to be assessed as positive or negative is then shown by considering the design of the country-specific family policy measures.

In the third phase, a summary evaluation of the national family policy regulations takes place with regard to their influence on generative behavior in the context of the reconciliation of family and work, in order to be able to explain why France and Sweden succeed against Germany in terms of both the fertility rate and the female labor force participation at a significantly higher level. The work ends with a conclusion.

Both the graphic representations of the fertility rates and the different employment rates of women and mothers as well as the tables with the comparison of the different family policy regulations in the three countries can be found in the appendix at the end of the present work.

2. Fertility and employment in comparison between France, Sweden and Germany

In this chapter, both the country-specific fertility rates and the employment rates of women without children, of mothers with one child in need of care and of mothers with two or more children in need of care are examined in more detail in order to be able to show whether and to what extent the factors "child" or . “Children” and “employment” in the individual countries mutually influence one another.

2.1 Fertility rates

The fertility rates and their development trends from 2000 to 2005 in France, Sweden and Germany can be found in Figure 1. It becomes clear that fertility is highest in France with an average of 1.94 children per woman and that in Germany with an average of 1 , 34 children per woman is the lowest. According to Birg, the main reason for the low average number of births per woman in Germany lies in the fact that around a third of all women remain childless throughout their lives. In contrast, lifelong childlessness is significantly lower in France.[14] However, Sweden's fertility rate does not form an average, but is far above that of Germany with an average of 1.77 children per woman. Furthermore, the figures shown show that fertility increased in both France and Sweden between 2000 and 2005, while in Germany it fell, albeit only slightly.

Regardless of these facts, it can be stated for all three countries that the respective fertility rates are below the level of an average of 2.1 children per woman required for reproduction and the maintenance of society, according to Birg.[15]

The change in generative behavior in western industrialized countries and the decline in fertility, such as in Germany, are interpreted in a variety of ways in politics and science. According to Birg, the reasons for this are, among other things, the "expansion of the biographical decision-making space"[16] as well as the growing demands on the flexibility and mobility of the individual in a modern economic society, which inhibit the willingness to take on long-term responsibility.[17] Lewis takes a similar view, noting the change in generative behavior as an expression of advancing individualization and arguing that the increasing participation of women and welfare state security result in female financial independence, which makes the decision to start a family less than economic Necessity but rather as a possibility of self-realization.[18] In addition, long-term employment interruptions due to the care and supervision obligations towards children lead to a reduction in the entitlement to replacement income from social insurance.[19] On the other hand, Althammer emphasizes, long breaks in employment are accompanied by a devaluation of company-specific qualifications and the knowledge acquired, which makes it more difficult for mothers to reintegrate into the labor market.[20]

Based on the arguments of Birgs and Lewis' that the growing employment of women without children has a negative effect on fertility, it could be assumed for the countries to be examined, taking into account the respective fertility rates, that the female labor force participation in Germany compared to that in France and Sweden is highest, as Germany has the lowest fertility. In contrast, the employment rate of women without children in need of care should be the lowest in France and, although lower than that in France, it should be significantly higher than in Germany. Whether these assumptions correspond to the actual female employment patterns in the three countries is examined below. With the help of the representations of the labor force participation of women without children in need of care, the labor force participation of women with one child in need of care and that of women with two or more children in need of care, the aim is to show what influence children in general and the number of children in couple households in particular have on Employment participation of women and mothers in France, Sweden and Germany.

2.2 Employment rate of women and men without children in need of care

In order to clarify whether and to what extent female labor force participation has an influence on fertility in France, Sweden and Germany, the country-specific activity rates of women without children in need of care are first examined. These are shown in Figure 2.[21]

A comparison of the employment rates of women without children in need of care in the three countries shows that Sweden has the highest participation rate for women with 82% and no gender-specific difference. In contrast, France has the lowest employment rate of women without dependent children, at 74%. The labor force participation of women without children in need of care in Germany is 5 percentage points below Sweden and 3 percentage points above France. For both Germany and France, the figures shown show a relatively high gender-specific discrepancy in the labor force participation of women and men.

Against this background, it can be said that the labor force participation of women without children in need of care in Germany is the highest in comparison to the other two countries, as was assumed in Section 2.1. As a result, there is initially no positive correlation between low fertility and a very high employment rate of women without children in need of care for Germany. In contrast, however, the assumption that the labor force participation of women without children in need of care is lowest in France compared to Germany and Sweden corresponds to the fact. Compared to Germany, however, this positive correlation between high fertility and low female labor force participation appears very weak in France, as the fertility rate in France is very high compared to Germany, while the female participation rate is only 3 percentage points below that in Germany. It is surprising to find that Sweden has the comparatively highest female labor force participation. At first glance, it appears that high fertility and the high labor force participation rate of women without children are not related in any way.

2.3 Employment rates of women and men with one child in need of care

The representation of the employment rate of women and men with a child in need of care in Figure 3 shows what influence a child in couple households already has on the labor force participation of mothers in France, Sweden and Germany. At first glance, it becomes clear that the employment rate of women with a child in need of care in France is the same as that of women without children in need of care and that the labor force participation of mothers with a child in need of care in Sweden is only one percentage point lower than that of women without children in need of care. In Germany, the employment rate of women with a child in need of care is 70%, the lowest in a three-country comparison. In addition, it can be seen that the difference between the employment rate of women without children in need of care and that of women with a child in need of care is greatest in Germany with seven percentage points compared to France and Sweden.[22]

A gender-specific discrepancy in the participation rates of women and men with a child in need of care can be found in all three countries. The relatively smallest gender gap in Sweden can be traced back to the increasing participation of men with a child in need of care.[23] By contrast, in Germany the gender-specific difference between the employment rates of women and men with a child in need of care compared with that of women and men without children in need of care rose from 8 to 22 percentage points, so that the presence of a child apparently leads to far more couple households in favor of a gender-specific one The division of labor is decided as couple households without children. A look at France shows that the level of the gender-specific discrepancy between the employment rates observed so far has not changed, so that the presence of a child cannot be given as the cause for this.

Consequently, it seems that in Germany already one child induces couple households to live the model of the male provider marriage, even if only temporarily.[24] In contrast, the indicators for Sweden and France show that the presence of a child in a couple household does not have a negative effect on the mother's employment or on a gender-specific division of labor, but that couple households continue to favor the “two-employed family” model.[25] decide in which both partners pursue gainful employment.

2.4 Employment rate of women and men with two or more dependent children

Figure 4 shows how much the number of children in need of care affects the employment of mothers compared to fathers in France, Sweden and Germany.[26]

While the number of children in need of care has almost no effect on the male participation rate in all three countries, there are clear differences in the employment of mothers. In both France and Germany, the activity rates of mothers with two or more dependent children are more than 20 percentage points below those of women without dependent children and 14 percentage points (Germany) and 15 percentage points (France) below those of mothers with one dependent child.

Sweden, on the other hand, has a stable activity rate of all mothers, regardless of the number of dependent children living in the household, of over 80%, with no significant gender-specific differences compared to the activity rates of fathers. In contrast, the gender-specific polarization in the employment rates of women and men with two or more dependent children is highest in France with 33 percentage points and in Germany with 36 percentage points.

In summary, it can be stated that in Sweden both the presence and the number of children in need of care in a household have no influence whatsoever on the high participation of mothers in the labor force. In contrast, the presence of children in need of care in a household in Germany has a negative effect on the mother's employment from the first and in France from the second child. With the growing discrepancy between the female participation rates as a function of the increasing number of children in need of care, the gender-specific polarization is also growing in both countries.

Against this background, it could be assumed on the one hand that mothers in Germany and France with one or two or more children in need of care will voluntarily give up their gainful employment in order to be able to devote themselves to housework and family work. On the other hand, however, it could also be assumed that these mothers involuntarily have to give up their gainful employment, since it is not possible for them to reconcile work and family due to the institutional framework. In order to be able to clarify which of the above-mentioned assumptions apply with regard to the low labor force participation of mothers in France and Germany, the real and desired employment patterns of mothers in couple households in which both partners are employed full-time (Figure 5) and those, in which the woman is unemployed and the man works full-time (Figure 6). If the following country comparisons show that the real employment patterns do not or only slightly match the desired employment patterns, this would confirm that the mothers are dissatisfied with the gender-specific division of labor. This would exclude the possibility of voluntarily giving up work due to motherhood and the low participation of mothers in the labor force would be due to other causes, such as institutional framework conditions in the states, which make it difficult or impossible for women to combine work and family.

2.5 Real and desired employment patterns in France and Germany

When considering the comparison of the real and desired employment patterns of mothers in couple households with two full-time working partners (Figure 5) and the real and desired employment patterns of mothers in couple households in which the woman is unemployed and the man works full-time (Figure 6), the following becomes clear: First, there is a large discrepancy between France and Germany in the size of households with two full-time parents (Figure 5). While in Germany only 10.1% of couple households with children in the form of the "two-earner family"[27] In contrast, there are three times as many households with children in France (31.7%) in which both partners work full-time.

Second, the figures in Figure 5 show that this form of equal participation in the labor force is desired by far more couple households with children in both countries. A total of 21.4% of all couple households with children in Germany, i.e. twice as many couples as are currently living, prefer both full-time employment. In France, a total of 45.2% of all couple households with children, i.e. 13.5 percentage points more, would like both partners to work full-time.

Thirdly, Figure 6 shows that in Germany over half and in France over a third of all couple households with children use the model of the "one-earner family"[28] Life. With regard to the desired employment pattern, it was found that fourthly only 44.10% of all couple households in Germany and only 26.3% of all couple households in France actually want this form of gender-specific labor force participation (Figure 6).

Although in a country comparison only the real and desired employment patterns of full-time employed and unemployed mothers in couple households were taken into account and those of part-time employed mothers were excluded[29]However, it was found that in both countries the desire for full-time employment is greatest among mothers and that significantly more couple households with unemployed mothers in Germany are dissatisfied with their employment patterns than in France. In addition, it was shown that despite the great influence of two or more children in need of care on the labor force participation of mothers, three times as many households in France live in the form of a two-earner marriage than in Germany. As a result, the institutional framework in France is much more conducive to dual employment in couple households with children than in Germany.

[...]



[1] Birg (2003)

[2] See Eichhorst et al (2007: 45)

[3] Number ratio of the live births in relation to the number of women of fertile age between 15

and 45 years. See Schmidt (2004: 250)

[4] See Eichhorst et al (2007: 41)

[5] See Federal Statistical Office Wiesbaden (2006)

[6] See Gerlach (2004: 13)

[7] See Eichhorst et al (2007: 9)

[8] See Birg (2003: 80)

[9] See Eichhorst et al (2007: 9)

[10] Birg (2003: 82)

[11] Star (2007: 19)

[12] See Veil (2003: 16)

[13] See Stern (2007: 19)

[14] See Birg (2003: 80)

[15] See Birg (2003: 58)

[16] Ibid., P. 82.

[17] See ibid.

[18] See Lewis (2003: 62)

[19] See Stern (2007: 44)

[20] Althammer (2000: 36), quoted from Stern (2007: 44)

[21] Child under 15 years in Germany and France and child under 16 years in Sweden.

[22] Child under 15 years in Germany and France and child under 16 years in Sweden.

[23] See Figures 2 and 3

[24] See Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth (2005)

[25] Lewis (2003: 62)

[26] Child under 15 years in Germany and France and child under 16 years in Sweden.

[27] Arn / Walter (2003: 132)

[28] Ibid.

[29] A comparison of the real and desired employment patterns of part-time employed mothers in couple households would only confirm the finding that there is an increased desire for employment of mothers in both countries, with around 28% of mothers in Germany, 6 percentage points more than currently realizing this. and in France 18.6% of mothers, 3.7 percentage points more, want this form of labor force participation. See Eichhorst et al (2007: 40)

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