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Targeting fertility and female participation through the income tax

We evaluate the effect of a 2003 reform in the Spanish income tax on fertility and the employment of mothers with small children. The reform introduced a tax credit for working mothers with children under the age of three, while also increasing child deductions for all households with children. Theoretically, given the interplay of these two components, the expected effect of the reform is ambiguous on both outcomes. We find that the combined reforms significantly increased both fertility (by almost five percent) and the employment rate of mothers with children under three (by two percent). These effects were more pronounced among less-educated women. In addition, to disentangle the impact of the two reform components, we use an earlier reform that increased child deductions in 1999. We find that the child deductions affect mothers’ employment negatively, which implies that the 2003 tax credit would have increased employment even more (up to five percent) in the absence of the change in child deductions.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 1113.

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Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision: May 2009
Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1113
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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  1. Gary S. Becker, 1960. "An Economic Analysis of Fertility," NBER Chapters, in: Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries, pages 209-240 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Orazio Attanasio & Hamish Low & Virginia Sanchez-Marcos, 2008. "Explaining Changes in Female Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1517-52, September.
  3. Sánchez-Mangas, Rocio & Sánchez-Marcos, Virginia, 2008. "Balancing family and work: The effect of cash benefits for working mothers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 1127-1142, December.
  4. Angrist, Joshua D & Evans, William N, 1998. "Children and Their Parents' Labor Supply: Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Family Size," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 450-77, June.
  5. Kevin Milligan, 2002. "Subsidizing the Stork: New Evidence on Tax Incentives and Fertility," NBER Working Papers 8845, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Carrasco, R., 1998. "Binary Choice with Binary Endogenous Regressors in Panel Data: Estimating the Effect of Fertility on Female Labour Participation," Papers 9805, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros-.
  7. Laroque, Guy & Salanié, Bernard, 2005. "Does Fertility Respond to Financial Incentives?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5007, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Leslie Whittington, 1992. "Taxes and the Family: The impact of the tax exemption for dependents on marital fertility," Demography, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 215-226, May.
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  10. repec:fda:fdaeee:13 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Alfonso Alba & Gema Alvarez & Raquel Carrasco, 2009. "On the estimation of the effect of labour participation on fertility," Spanish Economic Review, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 1-22, March.
  12. Whittington, Leslie A & Alm, James & Peters, H Elizabeth, 1990. "Fertility and the Personal Exemption: Implicit Pronatalist Policy in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 545-56, June.
  13. Reagan Baughman & Stacy Dickert-Conlin, 2003. "Did Expanding the EITC Promote Motherhood?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 247-251, May.
  14. Mike Brewer & Anita Ratcliffe & Sarah Smith, 2008. "Does welfare reform affect fertility? Evidence from the UK," IFS Working Papers W08/09, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  15. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Julian McCrae & Costas Meghir, 2000. "The labour market impact of the working families’ tax credit," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(1), pages 75-103, March.
  16. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 1999. "Welfare, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Labor Supply of Single Mothers," NBER Working Papers 7363, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Daniela Del Boca & Marilena Locatelli, 2006. "The Determinants of Motherhood and Work Status: a Survey," CHILD Working Papers wp15_06, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
  18. Marco Francesconi, 2002. "A Joint Dynamic Model of Fertility and Work of Married Women," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(2), pages 336-380, Part.
  19. Maria Gutiérrez-Domènech, 2008. "The impact of the labour market on the timing of marriage and births in Spain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 83-110, January.
  20. Marco Francesconi & Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2007. "The Socioeconomic Consequences of "In-Work" Benefit Reform for British Lone Mothers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(1).
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