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Businesses, buddies and babies: social ties and fertility at work

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Author Info

  • Hensvik, Lena

    ()
    (IFAU - Insitute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation)

  • Nilsson, Peter

    ()
    (Uppsala University)

Abstract

We examine the influence that co-workers’ have on each other’s fertility decisions. Using linked employer employee panel data for Sweden we show that female individual fertility increases if a co-worker recently had a child. The timing of births among co-workers of the same sex, educational level and co workers who are close in age is even more influential. Consistent with models of social learning we find that the peer effect for first time mothers is similar irrespective of the birth order of the co-worker’s child, while for higher order births within-parity peer effects are strong but cross-parity peer effects are entirely absent. A causal interpretation of our estimates is strengthened by several falsification tests showing that neither unobserved common shocks at the workplace level, nor sorting of workers between workplaces are likely to explain the observed peer effect. We also provide evidence suggesting that peers not only affect timing of births but potentially also completed fertility, and that fertility peer influences spills over across multiple networks. Our results forward the understandings of how individual fertility timing decisions are made and suggest that social interactions could be an important factor behind the strong inter-temporal fluctuations in total fertility rates observed in many countries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy in its series Working Paper Series with number 2010:9.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: 30 Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2010_009

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Related research

Keywords: Peer effects; social preferences; co-workers;

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Cited by:
  1. Dahl, Gordon B. & Loken, Katrine Vellesen & Mogstad, Magne, 2012. "Peer Effects in Program Participation," IZA Discussion Papers 6681, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Effrosyni Adamopoulou & Ezgi Kaya, 2013. "Young adults living with their parents and the influence of peers," Economics Working Papers we1310, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  3. Monstad, Karin & Propper, Carol & Salvanes, Kjell G, 2011. "Is teenage motherhood contagious? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 8505, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Effrosyni Adamopoulou, 2012. "Peer Effects in Young Adults' Marital Decisions," Economics Working Papers we1228, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  5. Paul Mathews & Rebecca Sear, 2013. "Does the kin orientation of a British woman’s social network influence her entry into motherhood?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 28(11), pages 313-340, February.

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