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The Effect of Fertility on Mothers’ Labor Supply over the Last Two Centuries

Rajeev Dehejia (), Rajeev Dehejia, Andrew Jordan, Cristian Pop-Eleches, Cyrus Samii and Karl Schulze
Additional contact information
Rajeev Dehejia: Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Rajeev Dehejia: New York University
Andrew Jordan: University of Chicago
Cristian Pop-Eleches: Columbia University
Cyrus Samii: New York University
Karl Schulze: Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Daniel Aaronson and Rajeev Dehejia

No WP-2017-14, Working Paper Series from Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Abstract: This paper documents the evolving impact of childbearing on the work activity of mothers. Based on a compiled dataset of 441 censuses and surveys between 1787 and 2015, representing 103 countries and 48.4 million mothers, we document three main findings: (1) the effect of fertility on labor supply is small and typically indistinguishable from zero at low levels of development and economically large and negative at higher levels of development; (2) this negative gradient is remarkably consistent across histories of currently developed countries and contemporary cross-sections of countries; and (3) the results are strikingly robust to identification strategies, model specification, data construction, and rescaling. We explain our results within a standard labor-leisure model and attribute the negative labor supply gradient to changes in the sectoral and occupational structure of female jobs as countries develop.

Keywords: Twins; instrumental variables; development; economic history; fertility; labor supply (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F63 F66 J00 J13 N00 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dem, nep-his and nep-lab
Date: 2017-09-17
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Working Paper: The Effect of Fertility on Mothers' Labor Supply over the Last Two Centuries (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: The Effect of Fertility on Mothers’ Labor Supply over the Last Two Centuries (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: The Effect of Fertility on Mothers’ Labor Supply over the Last Two Centuries (2017) Downloads
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