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Hidden consequences of a first-born boy for mothers

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  • Ichino, Andrea
  • Lindström, Elly-Ann
  • Viviano, Eliana

Abstract

We show that in the US, the UK, Italy and Sweden women whose first child is a boy are less likely to work in a typical week and work fewer hours than women with first-born girls. The puzzle is why women in these countries react in this way to the sex of their first child, which is chosen randomly by nature. We consider two explanations. As Dahl and Moretti (2008) we show that first-born boys positively affect the probability that a marriage survives, but differently from them and from the literature on developing countries, we show that after a first-born boy the probability that women have more children increases. In these advanced economies the negative impact on fertility deriving from the fact that fewer pregnancies are needed to get a boy is more than compensated by the positive effect on fertility deriving from the greater stability of marriages, which is neglected by studies that focus on married women only.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8354.

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Date of creation: Apr 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8354

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Related research

Keywords: Female labour supply; mothers' behaviour; preference for sons;

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References

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  1. Gelber, Alexander M. & Mitchell, Joshua W., 2009. "Taxes and Time Allocation: Evidence from Single Women," MPRA Paper 19148, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Jayachandran, Seema & Kuziemko, Ilyana, 2009. "Why Do Mothers Breastfeed Girls Less Than Boys? Evidence and Implications for Child Health in India," CEPR Discussion Papers 7321, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Kelly Bedard & Olivier Deschênes, 2005. "Sex Preferences, Marital Dissolution, and the Economic Status of Women," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
  4. Donald Cox, 2007. "Biological Basics and the Economics of the Family," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 91-108, Spring.
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Cited by:
  1. P. Rupert & G. Zanella, 2014. "Grandchildren and Their Grandparents’ Labor Supply," Working Papers wp937, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  2. Karbownik, Krzysztof & Myck, Michal, 2012. "For Some Mothers More Than Others: How Children Matter for Labour Market Outcomes When Both Fertility and Female Employment Are Low," IZA Discussion Papers 6933, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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