Maternal Work and Care Arrangements for Children below 3: Increasing Socioeconomic Disparities in East and West Germany
We estimate logistic regressions predicting the probability of i) maternal employment, ii) day-care use, and iii) informal care use based on waves 1991 to 2013 of the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP). The sample contains a total of 14,578 observations from 4,950 and 1,272 children under three in West and East Germany, respectively.
The findings indicate that the disparities in maternal employment and daycare attendance have increased over time between education groups in both East and West Germany. The increase in daycare use was most pronounced among children of high educated mothers. These mothers frequently complemented the use of formal daycare by informal care provided by relatives or nannies. Low educated mothers have been falling increasingly behind regarding employment and use of external child care, which may be seen as problematic in terms of mothers’ longer-term labour market outcomes and children’s opportunities to benefit from formal care. The findings suggest that expanding affordable formal day-care does not necessarily lead to more equal use of this publicly subsidized resource, but that social inequalities may even grow wider.