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The effect of fertility timing on women’s earnings at midlife in the UK

Jessica Nisén, Johanna Tassot, Francesco Iacoella and Peter Eibich ()
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Jessica Nisén: Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany
Johanna Tassot: Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany

No WP-2022-021, MPIDR Working Papers from Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany

Abstract: An extensive body of research shows that motherhood has substantial impacts on women’s earnings, but there is less evidence on the effect of the timing of motherhood, particularly in the long term and from contexts other than the US. This study analyses data from the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) to examine whether the timing of motherhood affects women’s midlife earnings, as well as the role of potential mediators (tertiary education, years in paid work, and number of children). We make use of the occurrence and timing of biological fertility shocks as a source of exogenous variation in the age at first birth. We find evidence for that avoidance of early motherhood may have a positive effect on women’s earnings in midlife in the UK. This effect is likely to be mediated by years in paid work and number of children. These findings call for policies that support early mothers’ employment careers.

Keywords: United Kingdom; contraception; education; female employment; fertility; income; labor market (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J1 Z0 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 26 pages
Date: 2022
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur and nep-lab
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2022-021

DOI: 10.4054/MPIDR-WP-2022-021

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