IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Why are Fertility and Female Participation Rates Positively Correlated across OECD countries?

Listed author(s):
  • José María Da Rocha
  • Luisa Fuster

The aim of this paper is to understand recent observations of fertility, female employment, and participation rates in O.E.C.D. countries. These observations indicate that fertility rates are positively correlated with female employment ratios and participation rates across O.E.C.D. countries during the period 1985-1996. Moreover, the time series observations show that fertility rates are procyclical in developed countries. Economic theories of fertility developed after the seminal work of Mincer (1962) and Becker (1965) are consistent with secular trends of fertility and female employment but do not account for these recent observations. In this paper we explore the role of labor market frictions in understanding the positive association between fertility and employment among O.E.C.D. countries. To this end we develop a framework of fertility and labor market participation decisions which is designed to quantitatively study the impact of labor market frictions on the timing of births, the fertility rate, and the labor market participation of females. We find that unemployment induces females to postpone and space births which, in turn, reduces the total fertility rate. In our framework, economies with a high unemployment rate are characterized by a low fertility rate, female participation, and female employment ratio. We also find that in our framework, differences in unemployment rates similar to the ones observed among O.E.C.D. countries, can generate a positive correlation between fertility and labor market participation rates. Interestingly, a temporary shock that increases job destruction can generate a decrease of the fertility rate and of the female employment ratio that mimics time series observations of Sweden during the 90's.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 72.

in new window

Date of creation: Feb 2003
Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:72
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27, 08005 Barcelona

Phone: +34 93 542-1222
Fax: +34 93 542-1223
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. S. Rao Aiyagari & Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner, 2000. "On the State of the Union," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 213-244, April.
  2. Juan Carlos Conesa, 2002. "Educational attainment and timing of fertility decisions," Working Papers in Economics 78, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
  3. Hector Chade & Gustavo Ventura, 2002. "Taxes and Marriage: A Two-Sided Search Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(3), pages 955-986, August.
  4. Elizabeth M. Caucutt & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2001. "The Timing of Births: A Marriage Market Analysis," Penn CARESS Working Papers 49355d43c11f2314075e8b54e, Penn Economics Department.
  5. Andres Erosa & Luisa Fuster & Diego Restuccia, 2002. "Fertility Decisions and Gender Differences in Labor Turnover, Employment, and Wages," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 856-891, October.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:72. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bruno Guallar)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.