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Balancing Work and Family: New Mothers’ Employment Decisions During Childbearing

Andrea Neri (), Martina Lo Conte and Piero Casadio ()
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Martina Lo Conte: ISTAT

Chapter 3 in Non-Standard Employment and Quality of Work. The Case of Italy, 2012, pp 39-52 from AIEL - Associazione Italiana Economisti del Lavoro

Abstract: In the past decade, several countries, notably France, Spain and Germany, have experienced a joint increase in female participation and fertility, mainly because of national policies aimed at balancing work and family life. In Italy, by contrast, fertility has remained relatively stable (after a period of significant decline) while increases in female participation rates have been modest. Numerous explanations for this apparent anomaly have been advanced in the literature, This paper studies the employment decisions of Italian mothers (and their determinants) during the childbearing period, using for the purpose the Italian Birth Sample Survey. In the two years surrounding childbirth, 20 per cent of women in employment before pregnancy leave the labour market, while only 4 per cent start to work after delivery. Most of the drop-out probability – about 70 per cent – is due to voluntary work exit, while one fourth is due to temporary employment or firm’s bankruptcy. An explanation of the results is that this period is particularly critical, and that the difficulties faced by new mothers are among the factors that contribute to keeping their participation rate at a low level.

Keywords: labour supply; child-care; part-time; fertility; work-life balance; fixed term contracts; gender. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J13 J16 J22 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012
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