Discovering and explaining work-family strategies of parents in Luxembourg

Nevena Zhelyazkova


The presented analysis discovers and explains typical patterns of work-family reconciliation for parents who had a child in the same period (2003) and in the same country (Luxembourg), thus facing the same macroeconomic and institutional conditions. Work-family trajectories are reconstructed as sequences of states using administrative records, so that working hours and use of leave provisions or other social security benefits are taken into account. Next, a clustering algorithm is applied to identify typical patterns. The analysis reveals that when the birth of a child is positioned as a pivotal point in the work-family trajectory, it appears to be a transition point for about a third of the female trajectories. For these women the event marks the beginning of a long-term reduction of labour participation manifested either in reducing the number of hours of work or in leaving the labour force. On the contrary, the career trajectories of working fathers are stable across time and for the majority of fathers there are no marked differences in work-force participation before and after the birth of a child. In the final stage of analysis available explanatory variables are linked to derived types of career profiles via a multinomial logit model. Work and family-related variables are used to test the hypothesis that women make a decision on reducing their labour market participation based on comparing the values of their time at home and the opportunity cost of not working. The results are in line with this reasoning for explaining the pattern of leaving the labour force after birth of a child. However, economic reasoning does not seem to explain the pattern of reducing the number of hours per week after the birth of a child.

JEL Classification: J16, J13, J22

Keywords: work-family reconciliation, parental leave, labour supply of women

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