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Generalizing the Causal Effect of Fertility on Female Labor Supply


  • Guillermo Cruces


  • Sebastian Galiani

    (Universidad de San Andres)


We study the effect of fertility on labor supply in Argentina and Mexico exploiting a source of exogenous variability in family size first introduced by Angrist and Evans (1998) for the United States. Our results constitute the first external validation of the estimates obtained for the US. External validation of empirical results is central to the making of rigorous science, but there are very few attempts to establish it. We find that the estimates for the US can be generalized both qualitatively and quantitatively to the populations of two developing countries where, compared to the US, fertility is known to be higher, female education levels are much lower and there are fewer facilities for childcare.

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  • Guillermo Cruces & Sebastian Galiani, 2003. "Generalizing the Causal Effect of Fertility on Female Labor Supply," Labor and Demography 0310002, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpla:0310002
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Killingsworth, Mark R. & Heckman, James J., 1987. "Female labor supply: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 103-204 Elsevier.
    2. Angrist, Joshua D, 2001. "Estimations of Limited Dependent Variable Models with Dummy Endogenous Regressors: Simple Strategies for Empirical Practice," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 19(1), pages 2-16, January.
    3. Joshua D. Angrist, 2004. "Treatment effect heterogeneity in theory and practice," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(494), pages 52-83, March.
    4. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-475, March.
    5. Abadie, Alberto, 2003. "Semiparametric instrumental variable estimation of treatment response models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 231-263, April.
    6. Meyer, Bruce D, 1995. "Natural and Quasi-experiments in Economics," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(2), pages 151-161, April.
    7. 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 450-477, June.
    8. J.D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens & D.B. Rubin, 1993. "Identification of Causal Effects Using Instrumental Variables," NBER Technical Working Papers 0136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Berlinski, Samuel & Galiani, Sebastian, 2007. "The effect of a large expansion of pre-primary school facilities on preschool attendance and maternal employment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 665-680, June.
    2. Solomon, Blen & Kimmel, Jean, 2009. "Testing the Inverseness of Fertility and Labor Supply: The Case of Ethiopia," IZA Discussion Papers 3949, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Mariana Marchionni & Leonardo Gasparini, 2003. "Tracing out the Effects of Demographic Changes on the Income Distribution. The Case of Greater Buenos Aires 1980-2000," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0004, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.

    More about this item


    Fertility; labor supply; causality; instrumental variables;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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