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Delayed First Birth and New Mothers' Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from Biological Fertility Shocks

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  • Bratti, Massimiliano

    (University of Milan)

  • Cavalli, Laura

    (University of Verona)

Abstract

We investigate the impact of delaying the first birth on Italian mothers' labor market outcomes around childbirth. The effect of postponing motherhood is identified using biological fertility shocks, namely the occurrence of miscarriages and stillbirths. Focusing on mothers' behavior around first birth our study is able to isolate the effect of motherhood postponement from that of total fertility. Our estimates suggest that delaying the first birth by one year raises the likelihood of participating in the labor market by 1.2 percentage points and weekly working time by about half an hour, while we do not find any evidence that late motherhood prevents a worsening of new mothers' job conditions (the so-called "mommy track"). Our findings are robust to a number of sensitivity checks, among which including controls for partners' characteristics and a proxy for maternal health status.

Suggested Citation

  • Bratti, Massimiliano & Cavalli, Laura, 2013. "Delayed First Birth and New Mothers' Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from Biological Fertility Shocks," IZA Discussion Papers 7135, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7135
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    9. Chen, Yi & Zhao, Yi, 2022. "The timing of first marriage and subsequent life outcomes: Evidence from a natural experiment," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 713-731.
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    13. Markussen, Simen & Strøm, Marte, 2015. "The Effects of Motherhood," Memorandum 19/2015, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    14. Steinhauer, Andreas & Bíró, Anikó & Dieterle, Steven, 2019. "Motherhood Timing and the Child Penalty: Bounding the Returns to Delay," CEPR Discussion Papers 13732, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Italy; labor market; fertility shocks; delayed first birth; new mothers;
    All these keywords.

    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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