Estimating Fertility Responses to Expectations: Evidence From the 1958 British Cohort

Oct 2001 | 80

Authors: Emilia Del Bono

The aim of this work is to explore the relationship between unemployment and fertility. The hypothesis we investigate is that unemployment affects fertility decisions by influencing individual`s expectations of future job opportunities and wage levels. A spell of unemployment may induce women to bring forward or delay the birth of their first child, depending on the relative strength of the income and substitution effects. Our results show that expectations of future wage levels and future job opportunities are relevant in explaining fertility patterns. In particular, higher expected wage levels encourage women to work more and delay childbirth. By contrast, more favourable expected job opportunities raise the hazard of a birth and, everything else equal, induce women to bring forward the event. In the latter case, a dominating income effect seems to be at work.

JEL Codes: J13, J60, C41

Keywords: fertility, unemployment duration analysis

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