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The Occupation, Marriage, and Fertility Choices of Women: A Life-Cycle Model

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Abstract

An extensive literature in labor economics recognizes that the life-cycle labor force participation of a woman is highly associated with her family choices. There is, however, virtually no study going further to incorporate female occupational choices. This paper attempts to fill this gap in labor supply literature by examining the interrelatedness of occupation, marital status and fertility choices of women over the life cycle. A discrete choice dynamic utility maximization model is constructed to investigate how relevant determinants influence a woman’s career and family path and how these decisions interplay with each other. Using longitudinal data on women from the 1979 youth cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, I estimate my model through the maximum likelihood estimation method in a dynamic programming fashion which takes into account the uncertainties from random arrivals of job opportunities, unexpected failure of birth control and temporary shocks to family earnings. The estimation results of structural parameters indicate that women’s lifecycle patterns of occupation, marriage and contraceptive behaviors vary significantly with their observable characteristics such as age, education, ability, race, and the presence of young children.

Suggested Citation

  • Bing Ma, 2010. "The Occupation, Marriage, and Fertility Choices of Women: A Life-Cycle Model," UMBC Economics Department Working Papers 10-123, UMBC Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:umb:econwp:10123
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    File URL: http://www.umbc.edu/economics/wpapers/wp_10_123.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daniela Del Boca, 2002. "The effect of child care and part time opportunities on participation and fertility decisions in Italy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 15(3), pages 549-573.
    2. Berkovec, James & Stern, Steven, 1991. "Job Exit Behavior of Older Men," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 189-210, January.
    3. Wilbert van der Klaauw, 1996. "Female Labour Supply and Marital Status Decisions: A Life-Cycle Model," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 199-235.
    4. de Beyer, J & Knight, J B, 1989. "The Role of Occupation in the Determination of Wages," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(3), pages 595-618, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marcus Klemm, 2012. "Job Security and Fertility: Evidence from German Reunification," Ruhr Economic Papers 0379, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    2. Francesca Marchetta & David E. Sahn, 2016. "The Role of Education and Family Background in Marriage, Childbearing, and Labor Market Participation in Senegal," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64(2), pages 369-403.
    3. Klemm, Marcus, 2012. "Job Security and Fertility: Evidence from German Reunification," Ruhr Economic Papers 379, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    4. Baetschmann, Gregori & Staub, Kevin E. & Studer, Raphael, 2016. "Does the stork deliver happiness? Parenthood and life satisfaction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 242-260.
    5. repec:zbw:rwirep:0379 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Human Capital; Occupational Choice; Life Cycle Model; Marriage; Fertility.;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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