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Women’s Employment Transitions and Fertility



This paper explores the dynamics of female employment decisions around childbearing using longitudinal data from the 2002 Chilean Social Protection Survey (Encuesta de Protección Social, EPS). The study evaluates how the birth of a child can affect the woman’s decision to work, in particular among women with strong attachment to the labor market. The results indicate that the hazard of leaving employment is high for women during the first year of their newborn child. The mother of a newborn child is twice as likely to leave employment. The effect of newborns on employment transitions is even greater among older generations and among voluntary quitters. Even one year after the birth of a child, women still face a high risk of leaving employment. A woman who is still working when her son reaches the age of one, still faces a 50% higher risk of leaving employment. Something is making these mothers reconsider whether they should remain at work, provided that they have been working during the child’s first year of age. This could be related to the existence of maternal benefits in Chile, where women have a 20-week (paid) maternity and they are allowed up to a year of paid parental leave if the child is sick. A woman might not have any incentives (or have the need) to leave work while she is using these benefits but might be tempted (or have) to do it once she has exhausted them. The introduction of individual effects and employment history variables reveal the persistence of two contrasting labor force patterns among women. As the actual labor experience increases, the probability of entering an inactivity period decreases. Additionally, the greater the number of years a woman remained inactive in the past, the greater is the probability of re-entering an inactivity period. In the voluntary transitions model, past inactivity periods have a smaller effect on the probability of leaving employment. This can be seen as a possible indication of an important penalization by the labor market, in terms of employment opportunities after prolonged periods of inactivity.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcela Perticara, 2006. "Women’s Employment Transitions and Fertility," ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers inv172, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines.
  • Handle: RePEc:ila:ilades:inv172

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alejandra Mizala & Pilar Romaguera & Paulo Henríquez, 1999. "Female labor supply in Chile," Documentos de Trabajo 58, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
    2. Harriet Orcutt Duleep & Seth Sanders, 1994. "Empirical Regularities across Cultures: The Effect of Children on Woman's Work," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(2), pages 328-347.
    3. Antel, John J, 1986. "Human Capital Investment Specialization and the Wage Effects of Voluntary Labor Mobility," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(3), pages 477-483, August.
    4. McLaughlin, Kenneth J, 1990. "General Productivity Growth in a Theory of Quits and Layoffs," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages 75-98, January.
    5. Alice Nakamura & Masao Nakamura, 1994. "Predicting Female Labor Supply: Effects of Children and Recent Work Experience," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(2), pages 304-327.
    6. Fernández, Raquel & Fogli, Alessandra & Olivetti, Claudia, 2004. "Preference Formation and the Rise of Women's Labour Force Participation: Evidence from WWII," CEPR Discussion Papers 4493, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Hwei-Lin Chuang & Hsih-yin Lee, 2003. "The Return on Women's Human Capital and the Role of Male Attitudes Toward Working Wives," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 435-459, April.
    8. Heather Antecol, 2003. "Why is there Cross-Country Variation in Female Labor Force Participation Rates? The Role of Male Attitudes Toward Family and Sex Roles," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2003-03, Claremont Colleges.
    9. Heather Antecol & Kelly Bedard, 2002. "The Decision to Work by Married Immigrant Women: The Role of Extended Family Households," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2002-34, Claremont Colleges.
    10. Dex, Shirley, et al, 1998. "Women's Employment Transitions around Child Bearing," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 60(1), pages 79-98, February.
    11. Vendrik, Maarten C. M., 2003. "Dynamics of a household norm in female labour supply," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 823-841, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Evelyn Benvin & Marcela Perticara, 2007. "Análisis de los cambios en la participación laboral femenina en Chile," Revista de Analisis Economico – Economic Analysis Review, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines, vol. 22(1), pages 71-92, June.

    More about this item


    Fertility; Childcare; Motherhood; Mothers; Participation; Women.;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs

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