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CLASH OF CAREER AND FAMILY: FERTILITY DECISIONS AFTER JOB DISPLACEMENT

Authors


  • The editor in charge of this paper was Stefano DellaVigna.

  • Acknowledgments: We are grateful to Jerome Adda, Martin Browning, David Card, Ken Chay, Raj Chetty, Uwe Dulleck, John Ermisch, Stephen Jenkins, Regina Riphahn, and seminar participants at UC Berkeley, Bocconi Milan, EALE 2007, ESPE 2008, Essex, ESSLE 2007, ISER (Essex), IZA (Bonn), RWI Essen, Munich, Nuremberg, Oxford, Paris, and SOLE 2008 for helpful comments. This project received funding from the Austrian Science Funds (NRN Labor Economics and the Welfare State) and the Austrian Marshallplan Jubiläumsstifung. Andrea Weber also acknowledges financial support which was generously provided by the Center for Labor Economics at UC Berkeley. All errors and opinions are the authors’ sole responsibility. We dedicate this paper to Alexander, who was born during the revision phase of this paper.

  • E-mail: edelbono@essex.ac.uk (Del Bono); webera@econ.berkeley.edu (Weber); rudolf.winterebmer@jku.at (Winter-Ebmer)

Abstract

In this paper we investigate how career considerations may affect fertility decisions in the presence of a temporary employment shock. We compare the birth rates of women displaced by a plant closure with those of women unaffected by job loss after establishing the pre-displacement comparability of these groups. Our results reveal that job displacement reduces average fertility by 5%–10%, and that these effects are largely explained by the response of women in more skilled occupations. We offer an explanation of our results based on career interruptions of women.

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