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Employment Protection and Fertility: Evidence from the 1990 Italian Reform

The aim of this paper is to investigate the effect of Employment Protection Legislation (EPL) on fertility decisions of Italian working women using administrative data. We exploit a reform that introduced in 1990 costs for dismissals unmotivated by a 'fair cause' or 'justified motive' in firms below 15 employees and left firing costs unchanged for bigger firms. We use this quasi-experimental setup to study the hypothesis that increased EPL reduces future job insecurity and positively affects a female worker's proneness to take childbearing decisions. We use a difference in difference (OLS-DID) model to control for possible period-invariant sorting bias and an instrumental variable (IV-DID) model to account for time-varying endogeneity of the treatment status. We find that reduced economic insecurity following a strengthening of the EPL regime has a positive and sizable effect on fertility decisions of Italian working women. This result is robust to a number of checks regarding possible interactions with other policy reforms occurring around 1990, changes in the sample of workers and firms, and use of an alternative set of exclusion restrictions.

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Paper provided by Tor Vergata University, CEIS in its series CEIS Research Paper with number 236.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: 14 May 2012
Date of revision: 15 Apr 2013
Handle: RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:236
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  1. Kugler, Adriana & Pica, Giovanni, 2008. "Effects of employment protection on worker and job flows: Evidence from the 1990 Italian reform," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 78-95, February.
  2. James J. Heckman & Sergio Urzua & Edward Vytlacil, 2009. "Understanding Instrumental Variables in Models with Essential Heterogeneity," Working Papers 200941, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  3. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
  4. James Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 1998. "Characterizing Selection Bias Using Experimental Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(5), pages 1017-1098, September.
  5. Mancini Massimo & Pappalardo Carmine, 2006. "Evaluating The Impact of Labour Market Regulation on the Size Growth of Italian Firms," Politica economica - Journal of Economic Policy (PEJEP), Società editrice il Mulino, issue 3, pages 399.
  6. Daniela Del Boca & Silvia Pasqua & Chiara Pronzato, 2004. "Employment and Fertility Decisions in Italy, France and the U.K," CHILD Working Papers wp08_04, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
  7. Emilia Del Bono & Daniela Vuri, 2008. "Job Mobility and the Gender Wage Gap in Italy," CEIS Research Paper 130, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 06 Nov 2008.
  8. Michaela Kreyenfeld, 2005. "Economic uncertainty and fertility postponement: evidence from German panel data," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2005-034, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  9. Marco Leonardi & Giovanni Pica, 2013. "Who Pays for it? The Heterogeneous Wage Effects of Employment Protection Legislation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(12), pages 1236-1278, December.
  10. Alicia Adsera, 2005. "Vanishing Children: From High Unemployment to Low Fertility in Developed Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 189-193, May.
  11. Sara Rica & Amaia Iza, 2005. "Career Planning in Spain: Do Fixed-term Contracts Delay Marriage and Parenthood?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 49-73, November.
  12. Massimiliano Bratti & Emilia Del Bono & Daniela Vuri, 2005. "New Mothers' Labour Force Participation in Italy: The Role of Job Characteristics," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 19(s1), pages 79-121, December.
  13. Schivardi, Fabiano & Torrini, Roberto, 2005. "Identifying the Effects of Firing Restrictions Through Size-Contingent Differences in Regulation," CEPR Discussion Papers 5303, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Marco Leonardi & Giovanni Pica, 2007. "Employment Protection Legislation and Wages," CSEF Working Papers 175, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  15. Adriana Kugler adkugler@uh.edu & Giovanni Pica, 2005. "The Effects of Employment Protection on the Italian Labour Market," CSEF Working Papers 135, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  16. Alberto Abadie, 2005. "Semiparametric Difference-in-Differences Estimators," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 1-19.
  17. Pedro Mira & Namkee Ahn, 2001. "Job bust, baby bust?: Evidence from Spain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 505-521.
  18. Sumon Kumar Bhaumik & Jeffrey Nugent, 2011. "Real options and demographic decisions: empirical evidence from East and West Germany," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(21), pages 2739-2749.
  19. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Job security, employment and wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 851-879, June.
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