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The Effect of Fertility on Mothers’ Labor Supply over the Last Two Centuries

Author

Listed:
  • Daniel Aaronson
  • Rajeev Dehejia
  • Andrew Jordan
  • Cristian Pop-Eleches
  • Cyrus Samii
  • Karl Schulze

Abstract

Using a compiled dataset of 441 censuses and surveys between 1787 and 2015, representing 103 countries and 48.4 million mothers, we find that: (1) the effect of fertility on labor supply is typically indistinguishable from zero at low levels of development and large and negative at higher levels of development; (2) the negative gradient is stable across historical and contemporary data; and (3) the results are robust to identification strategies, model specification, and data construction and scaling. Our results are consistent with changes in the sectoral and occupational structure of female jobs and a standard labor-leisure model.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Aaronson & Rajeev Dehejia & Andrew Jordan & Cristian Pop-Eleches & Cyrus Samii & Karl Schulze, 2017. "The Effect of Fertility on Mothers’ Labor Supply over the Last Two Centuries," NBER Working Papers 23717, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23717
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    Cited by:

    1. Yifan Gong & Todd Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2019. "Marriage, Children, and Labor Supply: Beliefs and Outcomes," Working Papers 2019-060, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    2. Rajeev Dehejia & Cristian Pop-Eleches & Cyrus Samii, 2015. "From Local to Global: External Validity in a Fertility Natural Experiment," NBER Working Papers 21459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Bhalotra, Sonia & Venkataramani, Atheendar & Walther, Selma, 2018. "Fertility and labor market responses to reductions in mortality," ISER Working Paper Series 2018-15, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    4. Iva Trako, 2018. "Fertility and Parental Labor-Force Participation: New Evidence from a Developing Country in the Balkans," PSE Working Papers halshs-01828471, HAL.
    5. Bhalotra, Sonia R. & Clarke, Damian, 2018. "The Twin Instrument: Fertility and Human Capital Investment," IZA Discussion Papers 11878, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Guber, Raphael, 2018. "Instrument Validity Tests with Causal Trees: With an Application to the Same-sex Instrument," MEA discussion paper series 201805, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.

    More about this item

    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
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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