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.
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