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Women's Employment and Fertility in Spain over the Last Twenty Years


  • Virginia Sanchez-Marcos

    (Universidad de Cantabria)


Over the past twenty years there has been a 87% increase of the married women's employment rate and a 48% decrease of the fertility rate in Spain. This paper focus on the increase of the marital dissolution rate, following the introduction of the Divorce Law at the beginning of the eighties, as a possible explanation (the probability of divorce went from 0.5% to 2.1%). A model on the economics of the family, in which labor market and fertility decisions are made, is used to measure such e.ects. It is found that the increase of divorce risk explains 15%, 44% or 0% of the change in married women's full-time employment rate, depending on women's education, and 45% of the decrease of the fertility rate. So, contrary to what some people argue, the decrease of the fertility rate observed in Spain is not so closely related to the increase of women attachment to the labor market, there are other possible explanations. The model provides a good framework for the evaluation of certain social policies that target the reconciliation of family and labor life.

Suggested Citation

  • Virginia Sanchez-Marcos, 2003. "Women's Employment and Fertility in Spain over the Last Twenty Years," Centro de Alti­simos Estudios Ri­os Pe©rez(CAERP) 6, Centro de Altisimos Estudios Rios Perez (CAERP).
  • Handle: RePEc:cae:caerpp:6

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    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General

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