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Hidden consequences of a first-born boy for mothers

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Author Info

  • Ichino, Andrea

    (University of Bologna)

  • Lindström, Elly-Anne

    (Uppsala Center for Labor Studies)

  • Viviano, Eliana

    (Bank of Italy)

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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File URL: http://www.ucls.nek.uu.se/digitalAssets/136/136506_20119.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies with number 2011:9.

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Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: 30 Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:uulswp:2011_009

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Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
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Web page: http://www.nek.uu.se/
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Related research

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

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References

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  1. Seema Jayachandran & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2011. "Why Do Mothers Breastfeed Girls Less than Boys? Evidence and Implications for Child Health in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1485-1538.
  2. Bedard, Kelly & Deschenes, Olivier, 2003. "Sex Preferences, Marital Dissolution and the Economic Status of Women," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt07g2372x, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  3. 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. 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," Working Paper Series 2012:15, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.

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