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The social multiplier and labour market participation of mothers

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In France as in the US, the participation of a mother in the labour market is influenced by the sex of her oldest siblings. Same-sex mothers tend to have more children and to work significantly less than the other mothers. In contrast, the sex of the oldest siblings does not have any perceptible influence on neighbourhood choices. There is no correlation between the sex of the siblings of a mother and the sex of the siblings of the other mothers living in the same close neighbourhood. Given these facts, the distribution of the sex of the siblings of the other mothers provides us with a plausible instrumental variable to identify the influence of other mothers' participation on a mother's participation in the labour market. Reduced-form analysis reveals that a mother's participation in the labour market is significantly affected by the sex of the oldest siblings of the other mothers living in the same neighbourhood. IV estimates suggest a strong impact of close neighbours' participation in the labour market on individual participation. We compare this result to estimates produced using the distribution of children's quarters of birth to generate instruments. Mothers whose children were born at the end of the year cannot send their children to pre-elementary school as early as the other mothers and participate less in the labour market. Interestingly enough, estimates using the distribution of quarters of birth in the neighbourhood as instruments are as strong as estimates using the sex-mix instruments.

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  • Eric Maurin & Julie Moschion, 2006. "The social multiplier and labour market participation of mothers," Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques v06044, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
  • Handle: RePEc:mse:wpsorb:v06044
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    Keywords

    Female participation in the labour market; neighbourhood effects; social multiplier.;

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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