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The Impact of Female Employment on the Likelihood and Timing of Second and Higher Order Pregnancies


  • Harvey S. James Jr.

    (University of Hartford)


This paper examines the effects of married women's employment on their fertility behavior in the United States. Data from the National Survey of Family and Households are used in a hazard model to determine whether a woman's employment status affected the rate at which she had a second, third or fourth pregnancy. The study finds that the labor-force participation of women does have an important effect on the spacing of pregnancies, although the effect is less pronounced in the transition to third pregnancy. In addition, this paper demonstrates that an appropriate method of modeling the fertility and female employment relationship is one in which employment is seen to influence the rate of childbearing.

Suggested Citation

  • Harvey S. James Jr., 1996. "The Impact of Female Employment on the Likelihood and Timing of Second and Higher Order Pregnancies," Labor and Demography 9612002, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpla:9612002
    Note: Type of Document - Word 7.0; prepared on IBM PC Pentium running Windows95; to print on HP laserjet 4; pages: 24; figures: none

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Heckman, James J & Hotz, V Joseph & Walker, James R, 1985. "New Evidence on the Timing and Spacing of Births," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 179-184, May.
    2. Frank Mott, 1972. "Fertility, life cycle stage and female labor Force participation in Rhode Island: A retrospective overview," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 9(1), pages 173-185, February.
    3. H. Theodore Groat & Randy Workman & Arthur Neal, 1976. "Labor force participation and family formation: A study of working mothers," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 13(1), pages 115-125, February.
    4. Glen Cain & Adriana Weininger, 1973. "Economic determinants of fertility: Results from cross sectional aggregate data," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 10(2), pages 205-223, May.
    5. Matthaei, Julie A, 1980. "Consequences of the Rise of the Two-Earner Family: The Breakdown of the Sexual Division of Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(2), pages 198-202, May.
    6. De Cooman, Eric & Ermisch, John F & Joshi, Heather, 1985. "The Next Birth and the Labour Market: A Dynamic Model of Births in England and Wales," CEPR Discussion Papers 37, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Newman, John L & McCulloch, Charles E, 1984. "A Hazard Rate Approach to the Timing of Births," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(4), pages 939-961, July.
    8. O. Collver, 1968. "Women's work participation and fertility in metropolitan areas," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 5(1), pages 55-60, March.
    9. J. Stycos & Robert Weller, 1967. "Female working roles and fertility," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 4(1), pages 210-217, March.
    10. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jørgen T. Lauridsen, 2015. "Is there a fertility paradox in Denmark?," ERSA conference papers ersa15p50, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Krister Sandberg & Thomas Westerberg, 2005. "Spatial Dependence and the Determinants of Child Births in Swedish Municipalities 1974-2002," ERSA conference papers ersa05p431, European Regional Science Association.
    3. Maria Gutierrez-Domenech, 2002. "The Impact of the Labour Market on the Timing of Marriage and Births in Spain," CEP Discussion Papers dp0556, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    4. Lauridsen, Jørgen T., 2017. "Small-Area Variation of Fertility Rates," COHERE Working Paper 2017:4, University of Southern Denmark, COHERE - Centre of Health Economics Research.

    More about this item


    Fertility; female employment; hazard models;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth


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