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The Emergence of Procyclical Fertility: The Role of Gender Differences in Employment Risk


  • Coskun, Sena

    (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg, Germany ; FAU)

  • Dalgic, Husnu

    (Univ. Mannheim)


"Fertility in the US exhibits an increasingly more procyclical pattern. We argue that women’s breadwinner status is behind procyclical fertility: (i) women’s relative income in the family has increased over time; and (ii) women are more likely to work in relatively stable and countercyclical industries whereas men tend to work in volatile and procyclical industries. This creates a countercyclical gender income gap as women become breadwinners in recessions, producing an insurance effect of women’s income. Our quantitative framework features a general equilibrium OLG model with endogenous fertility and human capital choice. We show that the change in gender employment cyclicality can explain 38 to 44 percent of the emergence of procyclical fertility. Our counterfactual analysis shows that in a world in which men become nurses and women become construction workers, we would observe “countercyclical fertility” but at the expense of lower human capital accumulation as families lean in more towards quantity in the quality-quantity trade-off." (Author's abstract, IAB-Doku) ((en))

Suggested Citation

  • Coskun, Sena & Dalgic, Husnu, 2022. "The Emergence of Procyclical Fertility: The Role of Gender Differences in Employment Risk," IAB-Discussion Paper 202227, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  • Handle: RePEc:iab:iabdpa:202227
    DOI: 10.48720/IAB.DP.2227

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    Cited by:

    1. Doepke, Matthias & Hannusch, Anne & Kindermann, Fabian & Tertilt, Michèle, 2022. "The Economics of Fertility: A New Era," IZA Discussion Papers 15224, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Allan Webster & Sangeeta Khorana & Francesco Pastore, 2021. "The labour market impact of COVID-19: early evidence for a sample of enterprises from Southern Europe," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, vol. 43(4), pages 1054-1082, November.
    3. Jose Cuesta & Julieth Pico, 2020. "The Gendered Poverty Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Colombia," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 32(5), pages 1558-1591, December.
    4. Titan Alon & Sena Coskun & Matthias Doepke & David Koll & Michèle Tertilt, 2022. "From Mancession to Shecession: Women’s Employment in Regular and Pandemic Recessions," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 83-151.
    5. Titan Alon & Matthias Doepke & Jane Olmstead-Rumsey, 2020. "This Time It's Different: The Role of Women's Employment in a Pandemic Recession," Working Papers 2020-057, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    6. Titan Alon & Matthias Doepke & Jane Olmstead-Rumsey & Michèle Tertilt, 2020. "The Impact of COVID-19 on Gender Equality," CRC TR 224 Discussion Paper Series crctr224_2020_163, University of Bonn and University of Mannheim, Germany.
    7. Guner, Nezih & Kulikova, Yuliya & Valladares-Esteban, Arnau, 2020. "Does the Added Worker Effect Matter?," IZA Discussion Papers 12923, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Devesh Roy & Sunil Saroj & Mamata Pradhan, 2022. "Nature of employment and outcomes for urban labor: evidence from the latest labor force surveys in India," Indian Economic Review, Springer, vol. 57(1), pages 165-221, June.
    9. Tertilt, Michèle & Doepke, Matthias & Olmstead-Rumsey, Jane, 2020. "This Time It’s Different: The Role of Women’s Employment in a Pandemic Recession," CEPR Discussion Papers 15149, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Chiara Ludovica Comolli, 2021. "Couples' paid work, state-level unemployment, and first births in the United States," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 45(38), pages 1149-1184.
    11. Ana Tribin & Karen García-Rojas & Paula Herrera-Idarraga & Leonardo Fabio Morales & Natalia Ramirez-Bustamante, 2023. "Shecession: The Downfall of Colombian Women During the Covid-19 Pandemic," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(4), pages 158-193, October.

    More about this item


    USA ; IAB-Open-Access-Publikation ; Auswirkungen ; Erwerbsbeteiligung ; erwerbstätige Frauen ; Familieneinkommen ; Frauen ; Fruchtbarkeit ; generatives Verhalten ; geschlechtsspezifische Faktoren ; geschlechtsspezifischer Arbeitsmarkt ; Konjunkturabhängigkeit ; Arbeitsmarktrisiko ; Arbeitsplatzgefährdung ; Wirtschaftszweige ; 1964-2018;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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