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Clash of career and family: fertility decisions after job displacement

  • Del Bono, Emilia
  • Weber, Andrea
  • Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf

In this paper we investigate how fertility decisions respond to unexpected career interruptions which occur as a consequence of job displacement. Using an event study approach we compare the birth rates of displaced women with those of women unaffected by job loss after establishing the predisplacement comparability of these groups. Our results reveal that job displacement reduces average fertility by 5 to 10% in both the short and medium term (3 and 6 years) and that these effects are largely explained by the response of white collar women. Using an instrumental variable approach we provide evidence that the reduction in fertility is not due to the income loss generated by unemployment but arises because displaced workers undergo a career interruption. These results are interpreted in the light of a model in which the rate of human capital accumulation slows down after the birth of a child and all specific human capital is destroyed upon job loss.

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File URL: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/research/publications/working-papers/iser/2007-33.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for Social and Economic Research in its series ISER Working Paper Series with number 2007-33.

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Date of creation: 20 Dec 2007
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Publication status: published
Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2007-33
Contact details of provider: Postal: Publications Office, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ UK
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Fax: 44-1206-873151
Web page: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/
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  1. Stevens, Ann Huff, 1997. "Persistent Effects of Job Displacement: The Importance of Multiple Job Losses," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 165-88, January.
  2. Andrea Ichino & Guido Schwerdt & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer & Andrea Ichino, 2013. "Too Old to Work, Too Young to Retire?," Economics working papers 2013-13, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
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  16. Louis S. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel Sullivan, 1992. "Earnings Losses of Displaced Workers," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 92-11, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  17. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2000. "The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women's Career and Marriage Decisions," NBER Working Papers 7527, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Pedro Mira & Namkee Ahn, 2002. "A note on the changing relationship between fertility and female employment rates in developed countries," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 667-682.
  19. Donna K. Ginther & Shulamit Kahn, 2009. "Does Science Promote Women? Evidence from Academia 1973-2001," NBER Chapters, in: Science and Engineering Careers in the United States: An Analysis of Markets and Employment, pages 163-194 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  28. Alicia Adsera, 2005. "Vanishing Children: From High Unemployment to Low Fertility in Developed Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 189-193, May.
  29. Marcus Eliason & Donald Storrie, 2006. "Lasting or Latent Scars? Swedish Evidence on the Long-Term Effects of Job Displacement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 831-856, October.
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  33. Donna K. Ginther & Shulamit Kahn, 2004. "Women in Economics: Moving Up or Falling Off the Academic Career Ladder?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(3), pages 193-214, Summer.
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