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

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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.

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File URL: http://www.umbc.edu/economics/wpapers/wp_10_123.pdf
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Paper provided by UMBC Department of Economics in its series UMBC Economics Department Working Papers with number 10-123.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: 15 Jul 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:umb:econwp:10123
Contact details of provider: Postal: UMBC Department of Economics 1000 Hilltop Circle Baltimore MD 21250, USA
Phone: 410-455-2160
Fax: 410-455-1054
Web page: http://www.umbc.edu/economics
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  1. Del Boca, Daniela, 2002. "The Effect of Child Care and Part Time Opportunities on Participation and Fertility Decisions in Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 427, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Van Der Klaauw, W., 1993. "Female Labor Supply and Marital Status Decisions: A Life Cycle Model," Working Papers 93-23, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  3. 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.
  4. Berkovec, James & Stern, Steven, 1991. "Job Exit Behavior of Older Men," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 189-210, January.
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