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Fertility, Female Labor Supply and Public Policy

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  • Patricia Apps
  • Ray Rees

Abstract

Historically, in virtually all developed economies there seems to be clear evidence of an inverse relationship between female labor supply and fertility. However, particularly in the last decade or so, the relationship across countries has been positive: for example countries like Germany, Italy and Spain with the lowest fertility rates also have the lowest female participation rates. They have accepted the hypothesis that the reason for this lies in the combined effects of a country’s tax system and system of child support, and we have sought to clarify this theoretically, using an extended version of the Galor-Weil model. The results suggest that countries with individual rather than joint taxation, and which support families through improved availability of alternatives to domestic child care, rather than through direct child payments, are likely to have both higher female labor supply and higher fertility. These results are strengthened when we take account of the heterogeneity among households that undoubtedly exists. [IZA Discussion Paper No. 409]

Suggested Citation

  • Patricia Apps & Ray Rees, 2010. "Fertility, Female Labor Supply and Public Policy," Working Papers id:2754, eSocialSciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:ess:wpaper:id:2754
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Galor, Oded & Weil, David N, 1996. "The Gender Gap, Fertility, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 374-387, June.
    2. Alessandro Balestrino & Alessandro Cigno & Anna Pettini, 2002. "Endogenous Fertility and the Design of Family Taxation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 9(2), pages 175-193, March.
    3. Alessandro Cigno, 2001. "Comparative Advantage, Observability, and the Optimal Tax Treatment of Families with Children," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 8(4), pages 455-470, August.
    4. Blau Francine D & Kahn Lawrence M, 2007. "The Gender Pay Gap," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 4(4), pages 1-6, June.
    5. Cigno, Alessandro & Pettini, Anna, 2002. "Taxing family size and subsidizing child-specific commodities?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 75-90, April.
    6. Robert Fenge & Wolfgang Ochel, 2001. "Die Vereinbarkeit von Familie und Beruf: der Schlüssel für eine kinderreiche Gesellschaft," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 54(12), pages 17-29, November.
    7. Cigno, Alessandro, 1986. "Fertility and the Tax-Benefit System: A Reconsideration of the Theory of Family Taxation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(384), pages 1035-1051, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mörk, Eva & Sjögren, Anna & Svalelryd, Helena, 2008. "Cheaper child care, more children," Working Paper Series 2008:29, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    2. Patricia Apps & Ray Rees, 2005. "Gender, Time Use, and Public Policy over the Life Cycle," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(3), pages 439-461, Autumn.
    3. Niedergesäss, Markus, 2013. "Employment, partnership and childbearing decisions of German women and men: A simultaneous hazards approach," University of Tuebingen Working Papers in Economics and Finance 51, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences.
    4. Julia Bredtmann & Jochen Kluve & Sandra Schaffner, 2013. "Mothers' Transitions into the Labor Market under Two Political Systems: Comparing East and West Germany before Reunification," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 133(3), pages 375-408.
    5. Besamusca, Janna & Tijdens, Kea & Keune, Maarten & Steinmetz, Stephanie, 2015. "Working Women Worldwide. Age Effects in Female Labor Force Participation in 117 Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 123-141.
    6. Henriette Engelhardt & Alexia Prskawetz, 2002. "On the changing correlation between fertility and female employment over space and time," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2002-052, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    7. Laroque, Guy & Salanié, Bernard, 2005. "Does Fertility Respond to Financial Incentives?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5007, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. András Gábos, 2013. "GINI DP 76: Successful policy mixes to tackle child poverty: an EU-wide comparison," GINI Discussion Papers 76, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
    9. World Bank, 2007. "Chile - County Gender Assessment : Expanding Women's Work Choices to Enhance Chile's Economic Potential," World Bank Other Operational Studies 7639, The World Bank.
    10. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Jean Kimmel, 2005. "“The Motherhood Wage Gap for Women in the United States: The Importance of College and Fertility Delay”," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 17-48, September.
    11. Eva Mörk & Anna Sjögren & Helena Svaleryd, 2013. "Childcare costs and the demand for children—evidence from a nationwide reform," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(1), pages 33-65, January.
    12. Anna Lovasz & Agnes Szabo-Morvai, 2013. "Does Childcare Matter for Maternal Labor Supply? Pushing the limits of the Regression Discontinuity Framework," Budapest Working Papers on the Labour Market 1313, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
    13. Magali Recoules, 2011. "How can gender discrimination explain fertility behaviors and family-friendly policies?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 505-521, December.
    14. Toseef Azid & Rana Ejaz Ali Khan & Adnan M.S. Alamasi, 2010. "Labor force participation of married women in Punjab (Pakistan)," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 37(8), pages 592-612, July.
    15. Gutierrez-Domenech, Maria, 2005. "Employment after motherhood: a European comparison," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 99-123, February.
    16. Del Boca, Daniela & Pasqua, Silvia & Pronzato, Chiara D., 2004. "Why Are Fertility and Women's Employment Rates So Low in Italy? Lessons from France and the U.K," IZA Discussion Papers 1274, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Guy Laroque & Bernard Salanié, 2004. "Fertility and Financial Incentives in France," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 50(3), pages 423-450.
    18. Gutiérrez-Domènech, Maria, 2003. "Employment after motherhood: a European comparison," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20046, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    19. repec:zbw:rwirep:0149 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Monika Bütler, 2007. "Arbeiten lohnt sich nicht - ein zweites Kind noch weniger. Zu den Auswirkungen einkommensabhängiger Tarife auf das (Arbeitsmarkt-) Verhalten der Frauen," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 8(1), pages 1-19, January.
    21. Maria Gutierrez-Domenech, 2003. "Employment After Motherhood: A European Comparison," CEP Discussion Papers dp0567, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fertility; taxation; labor supply;

    JEL classification:

    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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