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Labour market uncertainties for the young workforce in France and Germany : implications for family formation and fertility

Collection : Documents de travail

180, 2012, 58 pages

  1. Labour market uncertainties among Young people in France and West Germany
  2. Overall trends in Family formation and fertility in France and Germany
  3. Patterns of family formation and fertility among young people with flexible jobs, unemployment and other aspects of job insecurity
  4. Implications for family policies and welfare system regulations
  5. Implications of relevant social norms and values in society



This report explores to what extend labour market uncertainties at the age of family formation contribute to the variations in the fertility patterns between the two countries. It is part of the European project GUSTO and follows upon a first explorative paper on labour market and job insecurities of young people in France and Germany delivered by the Essen-Duisburg research team (Klammer and Ahles, 2010). The purpose of this study is to understand why Germany has a lower fertility than France despite a much better economic situation among young people. The first section examines the labour market uncertainties and specific labour market problems encountered by young people in France and Germany. The second section explores the overall trends in fertility and family formation in France and Germany before moving more specifically to family formation patterns and fertility behaviour of young people in the 3rd section. The 4th section examines how family policies and welfare system regulations concur to secure young people who are concerned by uncertain labour market situation. Drawing from qualitative interviews the focus will be in particular on the perception of family and employment policies in the two countries. It examines how policies can enhance the feeling of security for precarious young men and women. The last section explores the implications of relevant social norms and values on fertility issues, gender relations and work and family conflicting identities in the reference countries.
The higher incidence of economic insecurity on fertility decisions in Germany can be explained by the longer transition from end of schooling to first stable job and by the higher perception of child’s cost in Germany due to institutional and cultural factors. The impact of economic insecurity depends highly on gender, socioeconomic status and parity in Germany. This is less the case in France.

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