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Opting For Families: Recent Trends in the Fertility of Highly Educated Women

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  • Qingyan Shang
  • Bruce A. Weinberg

Abstract

Observers have argued about whether highly-educated women are opting out of their careers and for families. If so, it is natural to expect fertility to increase and, insofar as children are associated with lower employment, further declines in employment. This paper provides a comprehensive study of recent trends in the fertility of college-graduate women. We study fertility at a range of ages; consider both the intensive and extensive margins, explore a range of data sets; and study the period from 1940 to 2006. In contrast to most existing work, we find that college graduate women are indeed opting for families. Fertility increases at almost all ages along both the intensive and extensive margins since the late 1990s or 2000 and this recent increase in fertility is consistent across datasets.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15074.

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Date of creation: Jun 2009
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15074

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  1. Martha J Bailey, 2006. "More Power to the Pill: The Impact of Contraceptive Freedom on Women's Life Cycle Labor Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(1), pages 289-320, 02.
  2. Francine Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2006. "The US Gender Pay Gap in the 1990s: Slowing Convergence," Working Papers 887, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. Autor, David & Dorn, David, 2009. "Inequality and Specialization: The Growth of Low-Skill Service Jobs in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 4290, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Mazzolari, Francesca & Ragusa, Giuseppe, 2007. "Spillovers from High-Skill Consumption to Low-Skill Labor Markets," IZA Discussion Papers 3048, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Patricia Cort�s & Jos� Tessada, 2011. "Low-Skilled Immigration and the Labor Supply of Highly Skilled Women," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 88-123, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Antecol, Heather, 2010. "The Opt-Out Revolution: A Descriptive Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 5089, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Hosny Zoabi & Moshe Hazan, 2012. "Do Highly Educated Women Choose Smaller Families?," 2012 Meeting Papers 276, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Jose Maria Cabrera, 2011. "Fecundidad e Ingresos en Uruguay," Documentos de Trabajo/Working Papers 1110, Facultad de Ciencias Empresariales y Economia. Universidad de Montevideo..
  4. Martha J. Bailey & Brad Hershbein & Amalia R. Miller, 2012. "The Opt-In Revolution? Contraception and the Gender Gap in Wages," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 225-54, July.
  5. Qingyan Shang & Bruce Weinberg, 2013. "Opting for families: recent trends in the fertility of highly educated women," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 5-32, January.

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