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Employment Protection and Fertility: Evidence from the 1990 Italian Reform

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Abstract

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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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Alberto Abadie, 2005. "Semiparametric Difference-in-Differences Estimators," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 1-19.
  4. Kugler, Adriana & Pica, Giovanni, 2008. "Effects of employment protection on worker and job flows: Evidence from the 1990 Italian reform," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 78-95, February.
  5. James J. Heckman & Sergio Urzua & Edward J. Vytlacil, 2006. "Understanding Instrumental Variables in Models with Essential Heterogeneity," NBER Working Papers 12574, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Emilia Del Bono & Daniela Vuri, 2008. "Job Mobility and the Gender Wage Gap in Italy," CESifo Working Paper Series 2435, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Leonardi, Marco & Pica, Giovanni, 2010. "Who Pays for It? The Heterogeneous Wage Effects of Employment Protection Legislation," IZA Discussion Papers 5335, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Leonardi, Marco & Pica, Giovanni, 2007. "Employment Protection Legislation and Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 2680, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
  15. Pedro Mira & Namkee Ahn, 2001. "Job bust, baby bust?: Evidence from Spain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 505-521.
  16. 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.
  17. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Job security, employment and wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 851-879, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Marco Leonardi & Giovanni Pica, 2012. "Who pays for it? The Heterogeneous Wage Effects of Employment Protection Legislation," Working Papers 436, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.

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