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Motherhood and Female Labor Supply in the Developing World: Evidence from Infertility Shocks

  • Jorge M. Agüero
  • Mindy S. Marks

We introduce a new instrument for family size, infertility, to investigate the causal relationship between children and female labor force participation. Infertility mimics an experiment where nature assigns an upper bound for family size, independent of a woman’s background. This new instrument allows us to investigate the differential labor supply without restrictions on initial family size. Using the Demographic and Health Surveys from 26 developing countries we show that OLS estimates are biased upward. We find that the presence of children affects neither the likelihood of work nor its intensity, but impacts the type of work a woman pursues. Journal: Journal of Human Resources

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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 46 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 800-826

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:46:y:2011:iv:1:p:800-826
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  1. Bronars, Stephen G & Grogger, Jeff, 1994. "The Economic Consequences of Unwed Motherhood: Using Twin Births as a Natural Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1141-56, December.
  2. Jorge M. Aguero & Mindy S. Marks, 2008. "Motherhood and Female Labor Force Participation: Evidence from Infertility Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 500-504, May.
  3. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Guenther Fink & Jocelyn E. Finlay, 2007. "Fertility, Female Labor Force Participation, and the Demographic Dividend," PGDA Working Papers 2507, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  4. Joshua D. Angrist & William N. Evans, 1996. "Children and Their Parents' Labor Supply: Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Family Size," NBER Working Papers 5778, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Cruces, Guillermo & Galiani, Sebastian, 2007. "Fertility and female labor supply in Latin America: New causal evidence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 565-573, June.
  6. V. Joseph Hotz & Susan Williams McElroy & Seth G. Sanders, 1999. "Teenage Childbearing and Its Life Cycle Consequences: Exploiting a Natural Experiment," JCPR Working Papers 157, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  7. Julian P. Cristia, 2008. "The Effect of a First Child on Female Labor Supply: Evidence from Women Seeking Fertility Services," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(3), pages 487-510.
  8. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2001. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262232197, June.
  9. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1980. "Life-Cycle Labor Supply and Fertility: Causal Inferences from Household Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 328-48, April.
  10. Jaisri Gangadharan & Joshua Rosenbloom & Joyce Jacobson & James Wishart Pearre III, 1996. "The Effects of Child-Bearing on Married Women's Labor Supply and Earnings: Using Twin Births as a Natural Experiment," NBER Working Papers 5647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Erica Field & Attila Ambrus, 2008. "Early Marriage, Age of Menarche, and Female Schooling Attainment in Bangladesh," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(5), pages 881-930, October.
  12. Avraham Ebenstein, 2009. "When is the Local Average Treatment Close to the Average?: Evidence from Fertility and Labor Supply," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(4).
  13. Ambrus, Attila & Field, Erica, 2008. "Early Marriage, Age of Menarche, and Female Schooling Attainment in Bangladesh," Scholarly Articles 3200264, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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