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To be or not to be a (good) mother: Life-long decisions of women in Italy

Debora Di Gioacchino, Emanuela Ghignoni and Alina Verashchagina ()

No 193, Working Papers from University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics

Abstract: More time spent in childcare can be seen as investment in higher quality children, but there may be other reasons why women following childbirth stay out longer or leave the labour market. We aim to understand which are factors that affect this decision. The theoretical model proposed describes trade-offs about career, fertility and time dedicated to children. Model predictions are tested empirically using data from Isfol Plus 2014 survey for Italy. We show that women with higher earnings potential are as prone to have kids as their low-earning counterparts, but the duration of career break due to maternity for them is shorter. Both the probability to become a mother and the duration of career break are positively affected by the “taste for children†, defined using the number of actual and desired children. Other factors influencing women’s decisions on the matter are existing social norms, availability of childcare, and presence of a collaborative partner.

Keywords: Fertility; Career break; Female labour force participation; Italy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D10 J13 J22 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 27
Date: 2020-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur and nep-lab
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