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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.

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Paper provided by CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY in its series CHILD Working Papers with number wp15_06.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpc:wplist:wp15_06
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  1. Gustafsson, Siv S, et al, 1996. "Women's Labor Force Transitions in Connection with Childbirth: A Panel Data Comparison between Germany, Sweden and Great Britain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 223-46, August.
  2. Henriette Engelhardt & Alexia Prskawetz, 2002. "On the changing correlation between fertility and female employment over space and time," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2002-052, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  3. Del Boca, Daniela & Sauer, Robert M., 2009. "Life cycle employment and fertility across institutional environments," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 274-292, April.
  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. Christopher J. Ruhm & Jackqueline L. Teague, 1995. "Parental Leave Policies in Europe and North America," NBER Working Papers 5065, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Almudena Sevilla-Sanz & Joost de Laat, 2007. "Working Women, Men`s Home Time and Lowest Low Fertility," Economics Series Working Papers 308, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  7. Goldin, Claudia, 2006. "The Quiet Revolution That Transformed Women’s Employment, Education, and Family," Scholarly Articles 2943933, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Pau Baizan & Francesca Michielin & Francesco Billari, 2002. "Political Economy and Life Course Patterns," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 6(8), pages 191-240, March.
  9. Bratti, Massimiliano, 2002. "Labour Force Participation and Marital Fertility of Italian Women: The Role of Education," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 34, Royal Economic Society.
  10. Di Tommaso, Maria Laura, 1999. "A Trivariate Model of Participation, Fertility and Wages: The Italian Case," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(5), pages 623-40, September.
  11. Hotz, V Joseph & Miller, Robert A, 1988. "An Empirical Analysis of Life Cycle Fertility and Female Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 91-118, January.
  12. Geoffrey Carliner & Christopher Robinson & Nigel Tomes, 1980. "Female Labour Supply and Fertility in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 13(1), pages 46-64, February.
  13. Thomas Mroz, . "The Sensitivity of an Empirical Model of Married Women's Hours of Work to Economic and Statistical Assumptions," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 84-8, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  14. James J. Heckman, 1977. "Dummy Endogenous Variables in a Simultaneous Equation System," NBER Working Papers 0177, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Claudia Goldin, 2006. "The Quiet Revolution that Transformed Women's Employment, Education, and Family," NBER Working Papers 11953, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Patricia Apps & Ray Rees, 2004. "Fertility, Taxation and Family Policy," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(4), pages 745-763, December.
  17. Ermisch, John F, 1989. "Purchased Child Care, Optimal Family Size and Mother's Employment: Theory and Econometric Analysis," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 79-102.
  18. Alessandra Fogli & Raquel Fernandez, 2005. "Culture: An Empirical Investigation of Beliefs, Work, and Fertility," Working Papers 05-07, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  19. Daniela Del Boca & Silvia Pasqua & Chiara Pronzato, 2004. "Employment and Fertility Decisions in Italy, France and the U.K," CHILD Working Papers wp08_04, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
  20. Bloemen, Hans & Kalwij, Adriaan S., 2001. "Female labor market transitions and the timing of births: a simultaneous analysis of the effects of schooling," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(5), pages 593-620, December.
  21. repec:ese:iserwp:2000-11 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Eli Berman & Laurence R. Iannaccone & Giuseppe Ragusa, 2012. "From Empty Pews to Empty Cradles: Fertility Decline Among European Catholics," NBER Working Papers 18350, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Lyn Craig, 2006. "Do time use patterns influence fertility decisions? A cross-national inquiry," electronic International Journal of Time Use Research, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)) and The International Association for Time Use Research (IATUR), vol. 3(1), pages 60-87, August.
  24. 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.
  25. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Schultz, T Paul, 1985. "The Demand for and Supply of Births: Fertility and Its Life Cycle Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 992-1015, December.
  26. Aaberge, R. & Colombino, U. & Strom, S. & Wennemo, T., 1998. "Evaluating alternative tax reforms in Italy with a model of joint labor supply of married couples," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 415-433, December.
  27. Siv S. Gustafsson & Eiko Kenjoh & Cécile M.M.P. Wetzels, 2002. "Postponement of Maternity and the Duration of Time Spent at Home after First Birth: Panel Data Analyses Comparing Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers 59, OECD Publishing.
  28. Cristino R. Arroyo & Junsen Zhang, 1997. "Dynamic microeconomic models of fertility choice: A survey," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 23-65.
  29. Joëlle Sleebos, 2003. "Low Fertility Rates in OECD Countries: Facts and Policy Responses," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers 15, OECD Publishing.
  30. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli & Claudia Olivetti, 2004. "Mothers and Sons: Preference Formation and Female Labor Force Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1249-1299, November.
  31. repec:fda:fdaeee:13 is not listed on IDEAS
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