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Hidden Consequences of a First-Born Boy for Mothers

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  • Ichino, Andrea

    (European University Institute)

  • Lindström, Elly-Ann

    (IFAU)

  • Viviano, Eliana

    (Bank of Italy)

Abstract

We show that in the US, the UK, Italy and Sweden women whose first child is a boy are less likely to work in a typical week and work fewer hours than women with first-born girls. The puzzle is why women in these countries react in this way to the sex of their first child, which is chosen randomly by nature. We consider two explanations. As Dahl and Moretti (2008) we show that first-born boys positively affect the probability that a marriage survives, but differently from them and from the literature on developing countries, we show that after a first-born boy the probability that women have more children increases. In these advanced economies the negative impact on fertility deriving from the fact that fewer pregnancies are needed to get a boy is more than compensated by the positive effect on fertility deriving from the greater stability of marriages, which is neglected by studies that focus on married women only.

Suggested Citation

  • Ichino, Andrea & Lindström, Elly-Ann & Viviano, Eliana, 2011. "Hidden Consequences of a First-Born Boy for Mothers," IZA Discussion Papers 5649, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5649
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Seema Jayachandran & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2011. "Why Do Mothers Breastfeed Girls Less than Boys? Evidence and Implications for Child Health in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1485-1538.
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    Cited by:

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    2. Christina Gathmann & Björn Sass, 2018. "Taxing Childcare: Effects on Childcare Choices, Family Labor Supply, and Children," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(3), pages 665-709.
    3. Briole, Simon & Le Forner, Hélène & Lepinteur, Anthony, 2020. "Children’s socio-emotional skills: Is there a quantity–quality trade-off?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(C).
    4. Genicot, Garance & Hernandez-de-Benito, Maria, 2022. "Women’s land rights and village institutions in Tanzania," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 153(C).
    5. Biewen, Martin & Kugler, Philipp, 2021. "Two-stage least squares random forests with an application to Angrist and Evans (1998)," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 204(C).
    6. Takaku, Reo, 2018. "First daughter effects in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 48-59.
    7. Anna Busse & Christina Gathmann, 2018. "Free Daycare and Its Effects on Children and Their Families," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 958, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    8. Tran, Dong Quang & Nguyen, Viet Cuong, 2014. "Having an Older Brother Is Good or Bad for Your Education And Health? Evidence from Vietnam," MPRA Paper 70153, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    10. Karbownik, Krzysztof & Myck, Michal, 2012. "For Some Mothers More Than Others: How Children Matter for Labour Market Outcomes When Both Fertility and Female Employment Are Low," IZA Discussion Papers 6933, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Natalia Danzer & Victor Lavy, 2018. "Paid Parental Leave and Children's Schooling Outcomes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 128(608), pages 81-117, February.
    12. Briggs Depew & Joseph Price, 2018. "Marriage and the economic status of women with children," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 1049-1061, December.
    13. Rupert, Peter & Zanella, Giulio, 2018. "Grandchildren and their grandparents' labor supply," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 89-103.
    14. Laura Cyron & Guido Schwerdt & Martina Viarengo, 2017. "The effect of opposite sex siblings on cognitive and noncognitive skills in early childhood," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(19), pages 1369-1373, November.
    15. Zurab Abramishvili & William Appleman & Sergii Maksymovych, 2019. "Parental Gender Preference in the Balkans and Scandinavia: Gender Bias or Differential Costs?," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp643, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    preference for sons; female labour supply; mothers’ behaviour;
    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
    • 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
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand

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