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Employment, Family Union, and Childbearing Decisions in Great Britain

  • Arnstein Aassve
  • Simon Burgess
  • Matt Dickson
  • Carol Propper

The paper investigates the relationship between work and family life in Britain. Using appropriate statistical techniques we estimate a five-equation model, which includes birth events, union formation, union dissolution, employment and non-employment events. The model allows for unobserved heterogeneity that is correlated across all five equations. We use information from the British Household Panel Survey, including the retrospective histories concerning work, union, and child bearing, to estimate this model. We obtain well-defined parameter estimates, including significant and correlated unobserved heterogeneity. We find that transitions in and out of employment for men are relatively independent of other transitions. In contrast, there are strong links between female employment, having children and union formation. By undertaking a detailed micro simulations analysis, we show that different levels of female labour force participation do not necessarily lead to large changes in fertility levels. Changes in union formation and fertility levels, on the other hand, do have a significant impact on employment rates.

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Paper provided by Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE in its series CASE Papers with number 084.

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Date of creation: Apr 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cep:sticas:084
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  1. Pau Baizán & Arnstein Aassve & Francesco C. Billari, 2002. "Institutional arrangements and life course outcomes: the interrelations between cohabitation, marriage and first birth in Germany and Sweden," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2002-026, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  2. Arnstein Aassve & Simon Burgess & Andrew Chesher & Carol Propper, 2002. "Transitions from home to marriage of young Americans," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(1), pages 1-23.
  3. Lillard, L.A. & Waite, L.J., 1994. "A Joint Model of Marital Childbearing and Marital Disruption," Papers 94-16, RAND - Reprint Series.
  4. Wolfe, Barbara & Wilson, Kathryn & Haveman, Robert, 2001. "The role of economic incentives in teenage nonmarital childbearing choices," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 473-511, September.
  5. Arnstein Aassve, 2003. "The impact of economic resources on premarital childbearing and subsequent marriage among young American women," Demography, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 105-126, February.
  6. Dawn Upchurch & Lee Lillard & Constantijn Panis, 2002. "Nonmarital childbearing: Influences of education, marriage, and fertility," Demography, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 311-329, May.
  7. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
  8. Michael J. Brien, 1997. "Racial Differences in Marriage and the Role of Marriage Markets," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(4), pages 741-778.
  9. Michael J. Brien & Lee A. Hillard & Linda Waite, . "Cohabitation, Marriage, and Non-Fertility," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 97-5, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  10. Newman, John L & McCulloch, Charles E, 1984. "A Hazard Rate Approach to the Timing of Births," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(4), pages 939-61, July.
  11. Lillard, Lee A., 1993. "Simultaneous equations for hazards : Marriage duration and fertility timing," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1-2), pages 189-217, March.
  12. Robert J. Willis, 1999. "A Theory of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S33-S64, December.
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