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Women’s Employment after Childbirth



This paper explores the dynamics of female employment decisions around childbearing using longitudinal data from the 2002-2006 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. 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 could be 3 times more likely to leave employment. Even after exhausting maternity leave (12 weeks), women still face a high risk of leaving employment. When the child is three month old women still face a 40-50% higher risk of leaving employment, but the risk tends to disappear after the child is more than one year old. These results could be interpreted as maternal leave laws are delaying the decision of some women of quitting their employment after giving birth. Moreover, these effects get magnified for women who are entitled to maternity benefits. For women without maternity benefits the risk of leaving employment is high right after the birth, but this effects disappears quickly. For women with maternity benefits we find de opposite. The risk of leaving employment remains pretty high (70-80%) during the first and second year of the child. 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 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. We interpret this results 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 & Claudia Sanhueza, 2010. "Women’s Employment after Childbirth," ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers inv258, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines.
  • Handle: RePEc:ila:ilades:inv258

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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. 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.
    3. Michael Baker & Kevin Milligan, 2005. "How Does Job-Protected Maternity Leave Affect Mothers' Employment and Infant Health?," NBER Working Papers 11135, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. de Neubourg, Chris & Vendrik, Maarten, 1994. "An extended rationality model of social norms in labour supply," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 93-126, March.
    7. 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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    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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