Publications

Ibrahim Demirer, Michael Kühhirt, Ute Karbach and Holger Pfaff (2022). Does Positive Affect Mediate the Association of Multimorbidity on Depressive Symptoms? [Open Access]

DOI: 10.1080/13607863.2020.1870209

Abstract Multimorbidity poses various challenges, and previous research has indicated a causal relation with depression. As multimorbidity is not curable, the underlying mechanisms are of great interest. Positive affect is a major resource for coping with chronic conditions and for the prevention of depression. Long-term multimorbidity, however, may deplete positive affect. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role of positive affect in the association between multimorbidity and depressive symptoms. We used four consecutive waves (2008, 2011, 2014, 2017) of the nationally representative German Ageing Survey (DEAS) with a total of 1,558 older adults aged 40 and over. To account for time-varying confounding, exposure-induced mediator-outcome confounding, and reciprocities, we applied the mediational g-formula with inverse-probability weighting techniques. We also tested for exposure-mediator interaction to adjust for differences in mediation across the duration of multimorbidity. We confirmed a positive longitudinal relation between multimorbidity and depressive symptoms, both of which were negatively associated with while positive affect. The model without interaction indicated a share mediated of ca. 18.3% on the total effect of multimorbidity on depressive symptoms. Addition of interaction led to substantial differences for multimorbidity duration and levels of positive affect. Associations for long-term multimorbidity (at least two survey waves) were more substantial, and the share mediated doubled (>40%). Additionally, the direct effect of multimorbidity on depressive symptoms diminished for short-term multimorbidity. Strengthening positive affect could reduce depressive symptoms in those facing multimorbidity. This study also discusses methodological challenges in performing longitudinal mediation analysis. We advise researchers to consider the mediational g-formula and exposure-mediator interaction.

Marita Jacob and Michael Kühhirt (2021). Mothers’ Employment and Child Behaviour: New Evidence for Scotland [Open Access]

DOI: 10.1332/175795920X16057278409033 | Replication files

Abstract Given increasing maternal labour-market participation in many European countries, there is an ongoing scientific and public debate on the potential consequences for children’s development. Previous research has used both cross-sectional measures of maternal employment at a particular age of the child and measures capturing maternal employment history. Whereas the former approach cannot capture the cumulative impact of maternal employment on developmental outcomes, studies following the second approach have so far not accounted for the possibility that mothers may repeatedly change their labour-force participation in response to their children’s development or other dynamic context factors that are themselves affecting developmental outcomes. The present study combines statistical techniques that can account for time-varying confounders with cumulative measurement of maternal employment to investigate its link with children’s behavioural problems around age eight. In addition, our study explores whether the effect of maternal employment history differs by mothers’ education. Using data from the Growing Up in Scotland study, we find that children’s behavioural problems around age eight are the less pronounced the more years their mothers have worked full-time or part-time. However, these associations reduced in size once we adjusted for potential confounders and they do not significantly differ between mothers with and without a tertiary degree. These results suggest that the association between maternal employment history and behavioural problems around age eight is mostly driven by confounding factors such as maternal education, child health and socio-economic status.

Markus Klein and Michael Kühhirt (2021). Direct and Indirect Effects of Grandparents’ Education on Grandchildren’s Cognitive Development: The Role of Parental Cognitive Ability [Open Access]

DOI: 10.15195/v8.a13 | Replication files

Abstract The social stratification literature is inconclusive about whether there is a direct effect of grandparent resources on grandchildren’s educational outcomes net of parental characteristics. Some of this heterogeneity may be due to differences in omitted variable bias at the parental level. Our article accounts for a more extensive set of parent characteristics and explores the mediating role of parental cognitive ability in more detail. It further tackles methodological challenges (treatmentinduced mediator–outcome confounders, treatment–mediator interaction) in assessing any direct influences of grandparents by using a regression-with-residuals approach. Using the 1970 British Cohort Study, our results show that the direct effect of grandparent education on grandchildren’s verbal and numerical ability is small and statistically nonsignificant. Parental cognitive ability alone can account for more than two-thirds (numerical ability) or half (verbal ability) of the overall grandparent effect. These findings stress the importance of cognitive ability for intergenerational social mobility processes.

Michael Kühhirt (2020). Maternal Employment Dynamics and Childhood Overweight: Evidence from Germany [Open Access]

DOI: 10.20377/jfr-366 | Replication files

Abstract Overweight and obesity in childhood are key indicators of child well-being that have often been linked with maternal employment because of its potential impact on children’s diet and physical activity. Based on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel on children born between 2002 and 2011 and their families this study investigates how maternal employment across the first 60 months after birth affects child overweight around age 6. The analysis contributes to the existing literature by using measures that capture mothers’ entire employment history instead of employment status at a particular point in time and by highlighting the analytical challenges that face studies of the effects of dynamic exposures such as maternal employment, particularly measurement of exposure histories and time-varying confounding. Overall, the results indicate that children who have experienced very different maternal employment sequences but are similar with regard to background characteristics such as maternal education, household income, and family structure show only minor and statistically insignificant disparities in the risk of overweight around age six. Only a later transition from nonemployment to part-time employment may lower the risk of overweight around age six compared to consistent nonemployment.

Michael Kühhirt and Markus Klein (2020). Parental Education, Television Exposure, and Children’s Early Cognitive, Language and Behavioral Development

DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2019.102391 | Preprint | Replication files

Abstract The association between television exposure and children’s development is subject to controversial debates. Heavy television exposure may be detrimental to children by overstimulating their developing brains. It may also infringe on time that children would otherwise spend on more developmentally beneficial activities or parental interactions. In the present analysis, we use data from the 2004/5 birth cohort of the Growing Up in Scotland study to investigate relations be- tween hours of weekly television measured around the ages of two to four and as average over this period with children’s linguistic, cognitive, and behavioral outcomes around the age of five. Our analysis shows differences in the level and growth of television exposure by parental education. However, we did not find any substantive associations between television exposure and children’s cognitive or language ability. We found small associations of television exposure with conduct problems and prosocial behavior, particularly for children of less-educated parents. Overall, the results suggest that the impact of television on children’s development is less pronounced than often assumed.

Christian Ebner, Michael Kühhirt and Philipp Lersch (2020). Cohort Changes in the Level and Dispersion of Gender Ideology after German Reunification: Results from a Natural Experiment

DOI: 10.1093/esr/jcaa015 | Replication files

Abstract Modernization theorists’ ‘rising tide hypothesis’ predicted the continuous spread of egalitarian gender ideologies across the globe. We revisit this assumption by studying reunified Germany, a country that did not follow a strict modernization pathway. The socialist German Democratic Republic (GDR) actively fostered female employment and systematically promoted egalitarian ideologies before reunification with West Germany and the resulting incorporation into a conservative welfare state and market economy. Based on nationally representative, pooled cross-sectional data from the German General Social Survey (ALLBUS) from 1991 to 2016, we apply variance function regression to examine the impact of German reunification—akin to a natural experiment—on the average levels and dispersion of gender ideology. The results show: (i) East German cohorts socialized after reunification hold less egalitarian ideologies than cohorts socialized in the GDR, disrupting the rising tide. (ii) East German cohorts hold more egalitarian ideologies than West German cohorts, but the East-West gap is less pronounced for post-reunification cohorts. (iii) Cohorts in East Germany show higher conformity with gender ideology than their counterparts in West Germany; yet conformity did not change after reunification. (iv) Younger cohorts in West Germany show higher conformity with gender ideology than older cohorts.

Marita Jacob, Michael Kühhirt and Margarida Rodrigues (2019). Labour Market Returns to Graduates’ International Experience: Exploring Cross-Country Variation in Europe.

DOI: 10.1093/esr/jcz022 | Replication files

Abstract The potential benefits of increased international experience abound, ranging from enriching cultural understanding to an improvement of language skills and intercultural competence. At the same time, empirical evidence is mixed, particularly with regards to how well international experience translates into individual returns on the labour market. This article examines the association between studying abroad and early labour market outcomes in a comparative perspective aiming to shed light on why labour market returns differ across countries. We expect labour market returns to vary with specific country characteristics such as demand for international experience and competition among graduates at labour market entry. In our empirical analyses, we use data from 13 European countries that provide information on graduates’ early labour market outcomes. We find a large variation in the impact of studying abroad on both wages and attaining a higher service class position. Generally, the labour market returns to international experience are larger in countries in Eastern and Southern Europe with poorer university quality, higher graduate unemployment, and fewer students abroad.

Markus Klein, Katherin Barg and Michael Kühhirt (2019). Inequality of Educational Opportunity in East and West Germany: Convergence or Continued Differences? [Open Access]

DOI: 10.15195/v6.a1 | Preprint | Replication files | Blog

Abstract Diversity in education systems, and broader political and economic conditions, are commonly credited with international variation in inequality of educational opportunity (IEO). Comparing East and West Germany before reunification allows us to investigate whether vastly different political, economic, and educational systems led to differences in IEO. Postreunification, East Germany adopted the West’s systems and experienced an economic recession. IEO had been smaller in East Germany than in West Germany but was on an upward trajectory before reunification. After 1990, IEO in East Germany converged to the West German level as a result of decreased IEO in the west and increasing levels in the east. Postreunification convergence suggests that differences in political context and education policy are crucial for IEO.

Michael Kühhirt and Markus Klein (2018). Early Maternal Employment and Children’s Vocabulary and Inductive Reasoning Ability: A Dynamic Approach.

DOI: 10.1111/cdev.1279 | Preprint | Replication files | Blog

Abstract This study investigates the relationship between early maternal employment history and children's vocabulary and inductive reasoning ability at age 5, drawing on longitudinal information on 2,200 children from the Growing Up in Scotland data. Prior research rarely addresses dynamics in maternal employment and the methodological ramifications of time‐variant confounding. The present study proposes various measures to capture duration, timing, and stability of early maternal employment and uses inverse probability of treatment weighting to control for time‐variant confounders that may partially mediate the effect of maternal employment on cognitive scores. The findings suggest only modest differences in the above ability measures between children who have been exposed to very different patterns of eary maternal employment, but with similar observed covariate history.

Thomas Biegert and Michael Kühhirt (2018). Taking Lemons for a Trial Run: Does Type of Job Exit Affect the Risk of Entering Fixed-Term Employment in Germany?

DOI: 10.1093/esr/jcy003 | Preprint | Replication files

Abstract A central argument for the deregulation of employment contracts is that fixed-term contracts boost employment of jobseekers with uncertain productivity by giving employers a tool to screen such applicants over a longer period of time before permanent hire. We test this proposition by comparing the risk of entering fixed-term employment for individually laid-off workers with that for individuals who have left their previous job for other reasons. This strategy is based on the assumption that in the German context individual lay-offs create uncertainty about jobseekers’ productivity. We use data on work exits and subsequent labour market re-entry of the prime-age workforce in Germany from waves 2000–2013 of the Socio-Economic Panel. Our results show that the risk of fixed-term employment is substantively smaller after voluntary job exits but reveal only a small and statistically insignificant risk difference between individual lay-offs and workplace closures after adjusting for differences in socio-economic background and characteristics of the previous job. These findings challenge the view that employers use fixed-term contracts as an instrument to screen specific groups of workers whose productivity is highly uncertain, at least with regard to recent career disruptions.

DOI: 10.1080/13636820.2012.738427 | Preprint

Abstract This paper examines trends in school-to-work transitions of young men and women with lower and higher secondary education in West Germany between 1984 and 2005. This period was marked by an increase in young women’s educational attainment and a continuous growth of the service sector. We assume that both developments have benefited women more than men in terms of smooth labour market integration. Results from discrete event history analyses show that in recent years women indeed found their first job faster than men. However, this is not mainly due to an improvement in young women’s chances to enter employment, but to deteriorating employment prospects of men, in particular of unskilled men.

Michael Kühhirt (2012). Childbirth and the Long-Term Division of Labour within Couples: How do Substitution, Bargaining Power, and Norms affect Parents’ Time Allocation in West Germany?

DOI: 10.1093/esr/jcr026 |

Abstract Parents display a highly gendered division of labour: fathers specialize in paid work and mothers take over most domestic work. However, the processes underlying the long-term effect of parenthood on a couple’s time allocation remain obscure, because previous research merely looks at the average effect of having children, neglecting possible interactions with the partners’ absolute and relative resources. More specifically, affluent couples might be able to mitigate the impact of parenthood on time allocation by substituting their domestic work with services purchased in the market. Further, in couples with a female breadwinner prior to parenthood, men might take over the majority of household tasks after children are born. This study tests these hypotheses with data from the German Socio-Economic Panel using fixed-effects regression. The analysis shows that parenthood leads to a long-term increase in women’s housework and childcare time and a pronounced decline in market hours regardless of household income and pre-birth resource constellation. Men’s time use is hardly affected by the birth of children even if they were financially dependent on their partner. These results suggest norms as the main driving force behind long-term dynamics in couples’ time allocation across the transition to parenthood. The article concludes that future research needs to address the interplay of economic and normative factors in shaping time allocation in greater detail, both empirically and theoretically.

Michael Kühhirt and Volker Ludwig (2012). Domestic Work and the Wage Penalty for Motherhood in West Germany.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2011.00886.x |

Abstract Previous research suggests that household tasks prohibit women from unfolding their full earning potential by depleting their work effort and limiting their time flexibility. The present study investigated whether this relationship can explain the wage gap between mothers and nonmothers in West Germany. The empirical analysis applied fixed‐effects models and used self‐reported information on time use and earnings as well as monthly family and work histories from the German Socio‐Economic Panel (1985–2007, N = 1,810; Wagner, Frick, & Schupp, 2007). The findings revealed that variation in reported time spent on child care and housework on a typical weekday explains part of the motherhood wage penalty, in particular for mothers of very young children. Furthermore, housework time incurred a significant wage penalty, but only for mothers. The authors concluded that policies designed to lighten women's domestic workload may aid mothers in following rewarding careers.

Markus Klein and Michael Kühhirt (2010). Social Desirability and Response Bias in Case of the Division of Household Labour: The Interaction between Gender of the Interviewer and Respondent Characteristics in Telephone Interviews. [Open Access]

PID: urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-210124 |

Abstract In this paper the authors examine the impact of the interviewer's gender on respondents' self-reported share of housework in telephone interviews. Due to a discrepancy between modern, egalitarian gender roles dominating public discussion and men's marginal participation in housework they expect male respondents to answer in a socially desirable way and exaggerate their share of housework vis à vis female interviewers. At the same time, they assume that female respondents underreport their contribution to the couple's housework to female interviewers. The effects of the interviewer's gender should be less strong in case of female respondents than in case of male respondents, though. Additionally, theory suggests that young and educated respondents are particularly susceptible to effects of the interviewer's gender as they are most aware of egalitarian gender roles due to their socialization and environment. For male respondents the results are largely consistent with the expectations. However, the effect of the interviewer's gender varies stronger by age than by education. Regarding female respondents the results do not indicate any significant effects across age groups and educational degrees. Overall, the results show that social desirability may also bias self-reports of everyday behaviour. Moreover, interviewer effects vary considerably between different social groups.