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The Determinants of Motherhood and Work Status: a Survey


  • Daniela Del Boca


  • Marilena Locatelli



In this paper we present important empirical evidence regarding recent trends in women’s participation and fertility in European countries, and provide several interpretations of the differences across countries. Several recent analyses have considered labour supply and fertility as a joint decision and have explicitly taken into account the endogeneity of fertility in labour market participation decisions of women. We survey microeconomic analyses that explore the impact of social policies on the joint decisions of labor market participation and fertility. The results of most analyses indicate that social policies, taking into account several variables (family background, the allocation of time within the household, religion and culture), have a very relevant role in explaining different degrees of incompatibility between employment and child rearing across different countries. The incompatibilities between motherhood and careers find reconciliation in policies that enhance employment flexibility and diminish the potential opportunity costs of children.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpc:wplist:wp15_06

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    Cited by:

    1. Mayssun El-Attar, 2013. "Trust, child care technology choice and female labor force participation," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 507-544, December.
    2. Azmat, Ghazala & González, Libertad, 2010. "Targeting fertility and female participation through the income tax," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 487-502, June.
    3. REINSTADLER Anne, 2011. "Luxembourg and France: Comparable Family Benefits, Comparable Fertility Levels?," LISER Working Paper Series 2011-65, LISER.
    4. Yin King Fok & Sung-Hee Jeon & Roger Wilkins, 2009. "Does Part-Time Employment Help or Hinder Lone Mothers Movements into Full-Time Employment?," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2009n25, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    5. Francesca Modena & Concetta Rondinelli & Fabio Sabatini, 2014. "Economic Insecurity and Fertility Intentions: The Case of Italy," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(S1), pages 233-255, May.
    6. Christian Bredemeier & Falko Jüßen, 2009. "Household Labor Supply and Home Services in a General-Equilibrium Model with Heterogeneous Agents," Ruhr Economic Papers 0091, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    7. Concetta Rondinelli & Roberta Zizza, 2010. "(Non)persistent effects of fertility on female labour supply," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 783, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    8. Agénor, Pierre-Richard & Canuto, Otaviano & da Silva, Luiz Pereira, 2014. "On gender and growth: The role of intergenerational health externalities and women's occupational constraints," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 132-147.
    9. 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.
    10. Pamela Campa & Alessandra Casarico & Paola Profeta, 2011. "Gender Culture and Gender Gap in Employment," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 57(1), pages 156-182, March.
    11. Bredemeier, Christian & Juessen, Falko, 2009. "Household Labor Supply and Home Services in a General-Equilibrium Model with Heterogeneous Agents," IZA Discussion Papers 3944, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. El-Attar, Mayssun, 2007. "Trust, Child Care Technology Choice and Female Labor Force Participation," IZA Discussion Papers 3135, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. World Bank, 2016. "Georgia Country Gender Assessment," World Bank Other Operational Studies 26091, The World Bank.
    14. Raquel Fernandez, 2007. "Women, Work, and Culture," NBER Working Papers 12888, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Fernández, Raquel, 2007. "Women, Work and Culture," CEPR Discussion Papers 6153, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    16. Thomas Leoni & Rainer Eppel, 2013. "Women's Work and Family Profiles over the Lifecourse and their Subsequent Health Outcomes. Evidence for Europe," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 28, WWWforEurope.
    17. Tiago Cavalcanti & José Tavares, 2016. "The Output Cost of Gender Discrimination: A Model‐based Macroeconomics Estimate," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(590), pages 109-134, February.
    18. Seguino, Stephanie, 2011. "Help or Hindrance? Religion's Impact on Gender Inequality in Attitudes and Outcomes," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(8), pages 1308-1321, August.
    19. Raaum Oddbjørn & Bratsberg Bernt & Røed Knut & Österbacka Eva & Eriksson Tor & Jäntti Markus & Naylor Robin A, 2008. "Marital Sorting, Household Labor Supply, and Intergenerational Earnings Mobility across Countries," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(2), pages 1-49, January.
    20. Maria Alessandra Antonelli & Veronica Grembi, 2009. "Asili nidi e livelli di governo: evidenze da una prima ricognizione dei comuni italiani," ECONOMIA PUBBLICA, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 0(5-6), pages 45-74.
    21. repec:eee:wdevel:v:96:y:2017:i:c:p:102-118 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. C. Katharina Spieß, 2011. "Vereinbarkeit von Familie und Beruf – wie wirksam sind deutsche „Care Policies“?," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(s1), pages 4-27, May.
    23. Carmen Aina & Fernanda Mazzotta & Lavinia Parisi, 2010. "Gender Differences in Money Transfers within the Family. Evidence from Italy," Working Papers 133, SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont.
    24. Schrage, Andrea, 2007. "Low Fertility of Highly Educated Women: The Impact of Child Care Infrastructure," University of Regensburg Working Papers in Business, Economics and Management Information Systems 421, University of Regensburg, Department of Economics.
    25. repec:zbw:rwirep:0091 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Labor Market Decisions; Fertility; Child care; Family Policies;

    JEL classification:

    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • C3 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables
    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

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