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Testing the Inverseness of Fertility and Labor Supply: The Case of Ethiopia


  • Solomon, Blen

    () (Grand Valley State University)

  • Kimmel, Jean

    () (Western Michigan University)


We test the inverseness of fertility and labor supply for married women in Ethiopia to determine if previous research (focusing on developed countries) that has found an inverse relationship between fertility and labor supply is applicable to least developed countries. The research into fertility and labor supply has relied on a variety of methodologies for addressing the endogeneity of fertility. Using data from the Demographic Health Survey (DHS) of Ethiopia, we use the husband's desire for children to instrument for fertility. Our empirical results fail to support an inverse relationship between fertility and labor supply in Ethiopia, perhaps because the persistence of traditional family structures in the face of rising national female employment facilitates maternal employment. This finding has implications for other LDCs as well.

Suggested Citation

  • Solomon, Blen & Kimmel, Jean, 2009. "Testing the Inverseness of Fertility and Labor Supply: The Case of Ethiopia," IZA Discussion Papers 3949, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3949

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1980. "Life-Cycle Labor Supply and Fertility: Causal Inferences from Household Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 328-348, April.
    2. Hyunbae Chun & Jeungil Oh, 2002. "An instrumental variable estimate of the effect of fertility on the labour force participation of married women," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(10), pages 631-634.
    3. Angrist, Joshua D & Evans, William N, 1998. "Children and Their Parents' Labor Supply: Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Family Size," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 450-477, June.
    4. Guillermo Cruces & Sebastian Galiani, 2003. "Generalizing the Causal Effect of Fertility on Female Labor Supply," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2003-625, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
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    More about this item


    labor supply; fertililty;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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