Lone mothers’ participation in active labor market programs in Germany

Cordula D. Zabel, Institute for Employment Research (IAB)

This study investigates determinants of lone mothers’ participation in active labor market programs in Germany. In many countries, policy reforms in recent years have aimed at increasing lone mothers’ employment rates. This study examines to what extent lone mothers in Germany, too, are increasingly addressed by labor market programs. As of yet, lone mothers in Germany have not been an explicit focus group of policy reforms to the same extent as for example in Great Britain, Norway, or the United States. However, a large proportion of lone mothers belong to the group of the long-term unemployed, for whom regulations for unemployment benefit receipt were significantly altered in 2005 in the course of the Hartz IV reforms. Efforts of reintegrating long-term unemployed persons into the labor market were increased, especially entailing assignments to labor market programs. This study analyzes entries into labor market programs using large-scale administrative data. The method of analysis used is event-history analysis. A first research question compares lone mothers to parents in partnerships and lone fathers. Each of these population groups should in principle be confronted with the same difficulties organizing childcare. However, assumptions by case managers and unemployed parents themselves on gendered divisions of labor in the household may lead to strongly varying levels of program participation. The analyses in this study will show to what extent these differences persist after taking the number and age of children, as well as the duration of benefit receipt into account. Furthermore, it is possible that differences in program participation by family type are smaller in eastern than in western Germany due to a better childcare infrastructure. Lone mothers’ labor market program participation may have also increased recently due to increasing awareness of their frequently difficult economic and employment situation.

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Presented in Session 69: Welfare policies in European countries