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Low Fertility and Labour Force Participation of Italian Women: Evidence and Interpretations

  • Daniela Del Boca

In Italy, as well as in other Southern European countries, low labor market participation rates of married women are observed together with low birth rates. Our proposed explanation for this apparent anomaly involves the Italian institutional structure, particularly as reflected in rigidities and imperfections in the labor market and characteristics of the publicly-funded child care system. These rigidities tend to simultaneously increase the costs of having children and to discourage the labor market participation of married women. We analyze a model of labor supply and fertility, using panel data from the Bank of Italy which have been merged with regional data describing the available opportunities in each sample household’s environment. The empirical results show that the availability of child care and part time work increase both the probability of working and having a child. Policies which would provide more flexible working hours choices and greater child care availability ... En Italie comme dans les autres pays de l’Europe du Sud, on observe un faible taux de participation à l’emploi des femmes mariées lié à un faible taux de naissances. L’explication mise en avant pour cette apparente anomalie suppose l’implication de la structure institutionnelle italienne, qui présente quelques rigidités et imperfections sur les questions du marché de l’emploi et les caractéristiques du système de garde d’enfants prises en charge par l’état. Ces rigidités tendent à accroître simultanément les coûts liés à un enfant et la démobilisation sur le marché du travail des femmes mariées. Nous analyserons un modèle d’offre de main d’oeuvre et de fertilité en utilisant des données de panel de la Banque d’Italie qui ont été associées à des données régionales décrivant les opportunités disponibles dans chaque échantillon de l’environnement des ménages. Les résultats empiriques montrent que la disponibilité pour un enfant et le travail à temps partiel augmentent tous deux les ...

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers with number 61.

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Date of creation: 16 Oct 2002
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Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaaa:61-en
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