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An analysis of women's return-to-work decisions following first birth

  • Lisa Barrow

Women's labor force participation rate has increased sharply over the last two decades. The increase has been particularly dramatic for married women with young children suggesting that women are spending less time out of the labor force for child-bearing and rearing. Using the relatively detailed information available in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, this paper explores women's decisions to return to work within one year of the birth of their first child, focusing particularly on the effect of child care costs. Consistent with economic theory, women who face lower child care costs are more likely to return to work after giving birth as are women with higher potential wages and lower family income from other sources.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-98-9.

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Date of creation: 1998
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-98-9
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  1. Charles Michalopoulos & Philip K. Robins & Irwin Garfinkel, 1992. "A Structural Model of Labor Supply and Child Care Demand," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(1), pages 166-203.
  2. Murphy, Kevin M & Topel, Robert H, 2002. "Estimation and Inference in Two-Step Econometric Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 88-97, January.
  3. Heckman, James J, 1974. "Effects of Child-Care Programs on Women's Work Effort," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages S136-S163, Part II, .
  4. David C. Ribar, 1992. "Child Care and the Labor Supply of Married Women: Reduced Form Evidence," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(1), pages 134-165.
  5. Blundell, Richard William & Ham, John & Meghir, Costas, 1987. "Unemployment and Female Labour Supply," CEPR Discussion Papers 149, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Lisa M. Powell, 1997. "The Impact of Child Care Cost on the Labour Supply of Married Mothers: Evidence from Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(3), pages 577-94, August.
  7. Ribar, D.C., 1993. "A Structural Model of Child Care and the Labor Supply of Married Women," Papers 5-93-1, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  8. David Shapiro & Frank L. Mott, 1994. "Long-Term Employment and Earnings of Women in Relation to Employment Behavior Surrounding the First Birth," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(2), pages 248-275.
  9. Klerman, Jacob Alex & Leibowitz, Arleen, 1990. "Child Care and Women's Return to Work after Childbirth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 284-88, May.
  10. James J. Heckrnan, 1974. "Effects of Child-Care Programs on Women's Work Effort," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 491-524 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Leibowitz, A. & Klerman, J.A., 1995. "Explaining Changes in Married Mothers'Employment Over Time," Papers 95-13, RAND - Reprint Series.
  12. Connelly, Rachel, 1992. "The Effect of Child Care Costs on Married Women's Labor Force Participation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(1), pages 83-90, February.
  13. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 1992. "Race and Gender Pay Differentials," NBER Working Papers 4120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Arleen Leibowitz & Jacob Klerman, 1995. "Explaining changes in married mothers’ employment over time," Demography, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 365-378, August.
  15. Jean Kimmel, 1992. "Child Care and the Employment Behavior of Single and Married Mothers," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 93-14, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  16. Blau, David M & Robins, Philip K, 1988. "Child-Care Costs and Family Labor Supply," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(3), pages 374-81, August.
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