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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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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
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Web page: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/
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  8. Cigno, Alessandro & Ermisch, John, 1989. "A microeconomic analysis of the timing of births," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 737-760, April.
  9. Pfann, Gerard A. & Hamermesh, Daniel S., 2001. "Two-Sided Learning, Labor Turnover and Worker Displacement," IZA Discussion Papers 308, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  11. 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.
  12. Jacobson, Louis S & LaLonde, Robert J & Sullivan, Daniel G, 1993. "Earnings Losses of Displaced Workers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 685-709, September.
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  18. 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.
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  21. Paul A. Lengermann & Lars Vilhuber, 2002. "Abandoning the Sinking Ship: The Composition of Worker Flows Prior to Displacement," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-11, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  22. Michael Lechner & Stephan Wiehler, 2007. "Kids or Courses? Gender Differences in the Effects of Active Labor Market Policies," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2007 2007-08, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  23. Claudia Goldin, 2006. "The Quiet Revolution that Transformed Women's Employment, Education, and Family," NBER Working Papers 11953, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Ruhm, Christopher J, 1991. "Are Workers Permanently Scarred by Job Displacements?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 319-24, March.
  25. Lalive, Rafael & Zweimüller, Josef, 2005. "Does Parental Leave Affect Fertility and Return-to-Work? Evidence from a "True Natural Experiment"," IZA Discussion Papers 1613, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  26. Guido Schwerdt, 2007. "Labor Turnover before Plant Closure:'Leaving the sinking ship' vs. 'Captain throwing ballast overboard'," Economics Working Papers ECO2007/22, European University Institute.
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  34. repec:bla:restud:v:72:y:2005:i:1:p:77-108 is not listed on IDEAS
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