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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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    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).
    13. 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.
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