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Employment Protection and Fertility: Evidence from the 1990 Italian Reform

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The aim of this paper is to investigate the effect of Employment Protection Legislation (EPL) on fertility decisions of Italian working women using administrative data. We exploit a reform that introduced in 1990 costs for dismissals unmotivated by a 'fair cause' or 'justified motive' in firms below 15 employees and left firing costs unchanged for bigger firms. We use this quasi-experimental setup to study the hypothesis that increased EPL reduces future job insecurity and positively affects a female worker's proneness to take childbearing decisions. We use a difference in difference (OLS-DID) model to control for possible period-invariant sorting bias and an instrumental variable (IV-DID) model to account for time-varying endogeneity of the treatment status. We find that reduced economic insecurity following a strengthening of the EPL regime has a positive and sizable effect on fertility decisions of Italian working women. This result is robust to a number of checks regarding possible interactions with other policy reforms occurring around 1990, changes in the sample of workers and firms, and use of an alternative set of exclusion restrictions.

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File URL: ftp://www.ceistorvergata.it/repec/rpaper/RP236.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tor Vergata University, CEIS in its series CEIS Research Paper with number 236.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: 14 May 2012
Date of revision: 15 Apr 2013
Handle: RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:236

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Postal: CEIS - Centre for Economic and International Studies - Faculty of Economics - University of Rome "Tor Vergata" - Via Columbia, 2 00133 Roma
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Keywords: Fertility; Employment protection; Difference-in-difference; Instrumental variables; Policy evaluations.;

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References

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  1. Adriana Kugler & Giovanni Pica, 2005. "Effects of Employment Protection on Worker and Job Flows: Evidence from the 1990 Italian Reform," NBER Working Papers 11658, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Del Bono, Emilia & Vuri, Daniela, 2011. "Job mobility and the gender wage gap in Italy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 130-142, January.
  3. Schivardi, Fabiano & Torrini, Roberto, 2008. "Identifying the effects of firing restrictions through size-contingent differences in regulation," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 482-511, June.
  4. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
  5. Marco Leonardi & Giovanni Pica, 2013. "Who Pays for it? The Heterogeneous Wage Effects of Employment Protection Legislation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(12), pages 1236-1278, December.
  6. Alberto Abadie, 2005. "Semiparametric Difference-in-Differences Estimators," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 1-19.
  7. Mancini Massimo & Pappalardo Carmine, 2006. "Evaluating The Impact of Labour Market Regulation on the Size Growth of Italian Firms," Politica economica, SocietĂ  editrice il Mulino, issue 3, pages 399.
  8. James J. Heckman & Sergio Urzua & Edward Vytlacil, 2006. "Understanding Instrumental Variables in Models with Essential Heterogeneity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 389-432, August.
  9. Emilia Del Bono & Massimiliano Bratti & Daniela Vuri, 2004. "New mothers’ labour force participation in Italy: the role of job characteristics," CHILD Working Papers wp05_04, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
  10. Pedro Mira & Namkee Ahn, 2001. "Job bust, baby bust?: Evidence from Spain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 505-521.
  11. Sumon Kumar Bhaumik & Jeffrey Nugent, 2011. "Real options and demographic decisions: empirical evidence from East and West Germany," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(21), pages 2739-2749.
  12. Leonardi, Marco & Pica, Giovanni, 2007. "Employment protection legislation and wages," Working Paper Series 0778, European Central Bank.
  13. James Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 1998. "Characterizing Selection Bias Using Experimental Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(5), pages 1017-1098, September.
  14. Michaela Kreyenfeld, 2005. "Economic uncertainty and fertility postponement: evidence from German panel data," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2005-034, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  15. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Job security, employment and wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 851-879, June.
  16. Alicia Adsera, 2005. "Vanishing Children: From High Unemployment to Low Fertility in Developed Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 189-193, May.
  17. Sara Rica & Amaia Iza, 2005. "Career Planning in Spain: Do Fixed-term Contracts Delay Marriage and Parenthood?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 49-73, November.
  18. Daniela Del Boca & Silvia Pasqua & Chiara Pronzato, 2004. "Employment and Fertility Decisions in Italy, France and the U.K," CHILD Working Papers wp08_04, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
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Cited by:
  1. Marco Leonardi & Giovanni Pica, 2010. "Who Pays for it? The Heterogeneous Wage Effects of Employment Protection Legislation," CSEF Working Papers 265, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 13 May 2012.

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