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Female Work and Fertility in the United States: Effects of Low-Skilled Immigrant Labor

  • Heinrich Hock

    (Florida State University)

  • Delia Furtado

    (University of Connecticut)

This paper examines the effects of low-skilled immigration on the work and fertility decisions of high-skilled women born in the United States. The evidence we present indicates that low-skilled immigration to large metropolitan areas between 1980 and 2000 lowered the cost of market-based household services. Using a novel estimation technique to analyze joint decision making, we find that college-educated native females responded, on average, by increasing fertility and reducing short-run labor force participation. These changes were accompanied by a weakening of the negative correlation between work and fertility, as well as an increase in the proportion of women who both bore children and participated in the labor force. Taken in combination, our estimates imply that the continuing influx of low-skilled immigrants substantially reduced the work-fertility tradeoff facing educated urban American women.

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Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2009-20.

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Length: 59 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2009-20
Note: We are particularly grateful to Mary Ellen Benedict, Karin L. Brewster, Kenneth A. Couch, B. Lindsay Lowell, Stephen L. Ross, Carl P. Schmertmann, Anastasia Semykina, and Thomas W. Zuehlke for valuable feedback on previous versions of this paper. Any remaining errors are our own.
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