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

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  • Jorge M. Agüero
  • Mindy S. Marks

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

  • Jorge M. Agüero & Mindy S. Marks, 2011. "Motherhood and Female Labor Supply in the Developing World: Evidence from Infertility Shocks," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(4), pages 800-826.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:46:y:2011:iv:1:p:800-826
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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 328-348, April.
    2. 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.
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    4. V. Joseph Hotz & Susan Williams McElroy & Seth G. Sanders, 2005. "Teenage Childbearing and Its Life Cycle Consequences: Exploiting a Natural Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(3).
    5. Ambrus, Attila & Field, Erica, 2008. "Early Marriage, Age of Menarche, and Female Schooling Attainment in Bangladesh," Scholarly Articles 3200264, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    6. 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.
    7. David Bloom & David Canning & Günther Fink & Jocelyn Finlay, 2009. "Fertility, female labor force participation, and the demographic dividend," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 79-101, June.
    8. 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 1141-1156, December.
    9. Angrist, Joshua D & Evans, William N, 1998. "Children and Their Parents' Labor Supply: Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Family Size," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 450-477, June.
    10. Joyce P. Jacobsen & James Wishart Pearce III & Joshua L. Rosenbloom, 1999. "The Effects of Childbearing on Married Women's Labor Supply and Earnings: Using Twin Births as a Natural Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(3), pages 449-474.
    11. 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.
    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).
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    Cited by:

    1. Javier Torres & Jorge M. Agüero, 2017. "Stylized Facts about the Quantity and Quality of Parental Time Investments on the Skill Formation of Their Children," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 8215, Inter-American Development Bank.
    2. Massimiliano Bratti & Laura Cavalli, 2014. "Delayed First Birth and New Mothers’ Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from Biological Fertility Shocks," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 30(1), pages 35-63, February.
    3. Massimiliano Bratti & Simona Fiore & Mariapia Mendola, 2016. "Family Size, Sibling Rivalry and Migration: Evidence from Mexico," Development Working Papers 390, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano, revised 21 Jun 2016.
    4. Lundborg, Petter & Plug, Erik & Rasmussen, Astrid Würtz, 2014. "Fertility Effects on Female Labor Supply: IV Evidence from IVF Treatments," IZA Discussion Papers 8609, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Li, Hongbin & Yi, Junjian & Zhang, Junsen, 2015. "Fertility, Household Structure, and Parental Labor Supply: Evidence from Rural China," IZA Discussion Papers 9342, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Isis Gaddis & Stephan Klasen, 2014. "Economic development, structural change, and women’s labor force participation:," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 27(3), pages 639-681, July.
    7. Anna Baranowska-Rataj & Anna Matysiak, 2016. "The Causal Effects of the Number of Children on Female Employment - Do European Institutional and Gender Conditions Matter?," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 343-367, September.
    8. Alan Fernihough & Mark McGovern, 2014. "Do fertility transitions influence infant mortality declines? Evidence from early modern Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 27(4), pages 1145-1163, October.
    9. Aaronson, Daniel & Dehejia, Rajeev & Jordon, Andrew & Pop-Eleches, Cristian & Samii, Cyrus & Schultze, Karl, 2017. "The Effect of Fertility on Mothers’ Labor Supply over the Last Two Centuries," MPRA Paper 76768, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. KUEPIE Mathias & DZOSSA Anaclet Désiré & KELODJOUE Samuel, 2013. "Determinants of labor market gender inequalities in Cameroon, Senegal and Mali: the role of human capital and the fertility burden," LISER Working Paper Series 2013-08, LISER.
    11. repec:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:6:p:1611-37 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Heath, Rachel, 2017. "Fertility at work: Children and women's labor market outcomes in urban Ghana," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 190-214.
    13. Anna Baranowska, 2013. "The family size effects on female employment. Evidence from the “natural experiments” related to human reproduction," Working Papers 57, Institute of Statistics and Demography, Warsaw School of Economics.
    14. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0612-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:ilo:ilowps:487376 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Besamusca, Janna & Tijdens, Kea & Keune, Maarten & Steinmetz, Stephanie, 2015. "Working Women Worldwide. Age Effects in Female Labor Force Participation in 117 Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 123-141.
    17. repec:eee:joecag:v:5:y:2015:i:c:p:45-53 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Apostolova-Mihaylova, Maria & Yelowitz, Aaron, 2015. "Health Insurance, Fertility, and the Wantedness of Pregnancies: Evidence from Massachusetts," MPRA Paper 61237, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Herrera, Catalina & Sahn, David E. & Villa, Kira M., 2016. "Teen Fertility and Labor Market Segmentation: Evidence from Madagascar," IZA Discussion Papers 10464, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Herrera Catalina & E. Sahn David & M. Villa Kira, 2017. "Working Paper 279 - Teen Fertility and Labor Market Segmentation in Madagascar," Working Paper Series 2396, African Development Bank.
    21. Markussen, Simen & Strøm, Marte, 2015. "The Effects of Motherhood," Memorandum 19/2015, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    22. Matias Busso & Dario Romero Fonseca, 2015. "Female Labor Force Participation in Latin America: Patterns and Explanations," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0187, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    23. Javier Torres & Jorge M. Agüero, 2017. "Stylized Facts about the Quantity and Quality of Parental Time Investments on the Skill Formation of Their Children," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 98156, Inter-American Development Bank.
    24. Grimshaw, Damian. & Rubery, Jill., 2015. "The motherhood pay gap : a review of the issues, theory and international evidence," ILO Working Papers 994873763402676, International Labour Organization.
    25. Herrera, Catalina & Sahn, David & Villa, Kira, 2016. "Early Fertility and Labor Market Segmentation: Evidence from Madagascar," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235749, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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