New project

How fathers in Europe work

The birth of a child changes a lot. Women interrupt their work-lives, work less after reentering the workplace or give up their jobs for many years, some even forever. But how do men behave after they become fathers? Do they decrease their work hours or do they work more to compensate for their partners’ loss of income? Comparative studies of Europe that show what men decide and more important why have been lacking thus far. The WZB is starting a new project under the direction of Heisenberg Fellow Matthias Pollmann-Schult to look into these questions in an international comparison.

The effect of partnership and family on men’s work-lives is highly dependent on social context. For one, social- and family-policy regulation play a large role, like for example, the duration of legally protected parental leave or the amount of transfer payments for families. The influence of these factors should be more precisely examined in the 24 European countries.  In addition, the researchers want to analyze the significance of the labor market. Does employment patterns of fathers differ in countries with flexible labor markets (for example, Great Britain) from countries with more strictly regulated job markets (for example, Germany)? Furthermore, it is questioned to what degree the men’s domestic background, i.e. marital status or the employment status of their partners, influences the employment behavior of fathers.

Project leader Matthias Pollmann-Schult is a sociologist and has been working at the WZB since September as a Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Heisenberg Fellow. His research also involves the relationship between parenthood and contentment.

Mareike Wagner is also working on the project as a research associate.