How do women with a partner respond to activation policies? Household roles and employment effects of training and workfare in Germany

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

A major unemployment and welfare benefit reform took place in Germany in 2005. One objective of this reform was to more strongly encourage an adult worker model of the family for means-tested unemployment benefit recipients and to activate the formerly inactive. Much emphasis has since been given to assignments to active labor market programs. Our research question refers to the extent to which women in households with a formerly traditional division of labor actually can improve their chances of employment by participating in active labor market programs, thus potentially changing role allocations in the household. Our focus is on short training programs as well as workfare. For our analyses, we develop household types on the basis of women’s and their partner’s previous employment experience and earnings. Accordingly, we differentiate between former male breadwinner households, female breadwinner households, dual earner households, as well as no earner households. Effects of active labor market programs are then compared between women in these different household types. We analyze large-scale administrative data, applying a timing-of-events approach. This allows controlling for selectivity in program entries. We find that program participations are particularly selective for women in former male breadwinner and no earner households. Nonetheless, even when accounting for selectivity in program entries, effects on entering employment are still considerably larger for women in former male breadwinner and no earner households than for women in former dual earner and female breadwinner households.

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Presented in Poster Session 3