The Effect of the Timing and Spacing of Births on the Level of Labor Market Involvement of Married Women

55 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2009

See all articles by Kenneth R. Troske

Kenneth R. Troske

University of Kentucky - Department of Economics; University of Missouri at Columbia - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Alexandru Voicu

City University of New York (CUNY) - College of Staten Island; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

We use panel data from NLSY79 to analyze the effects of the timing and spacing of births on the labor supply of married women in a framework that accounts for the endogeneity of labor market and fertility decisions, the heterogeneity of the effects of children and their correlation with the fertility decisions, and the correlation of sequential labor market decisions. Our results show that timing and spacing of births are important determinants of the effect of children on women's labor supply. Delaying the first birth leads to higher levels of labor market involvement before the birth of the first child and reduces the negative effect of the first child on the level of labor market involvement. Having the second birth after a longer interval reduces the effect of the second child on participation but increases its effect on the probability of working full time, as more women, having returned to work, respond to the second birth by moving from full time to part time jobs. Individual heterogeneity plays an important role in the relationship between labor market and fertility decisions. Women who have fewer children have the first birth later in life and space subsequent births more closely together, work more before the birth of the first child, but face larger effects of children on their labor supply.

Keywords: timing and spacing of births, female labor supply, endogenous fertility decisions, heterogeneous children effects, multinomial probit model, Gibbs sampler

JEL Classification: C11, C15, J13, J22

Suggested Citation

Troske, Kenneth R. and Voicu, Alexandru, The Effect of the Timing and Spacing of Births on the Level of Labor Market Involvement of Married Women. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4417, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1489240

Kenneth R. Troske (Contact Author)

University of Kentucky - Department of Economics ( email )

Lexington, KY 40506
United States

University of Missouri at Columbia - Department of Economics ( email )

118 Professional Building
Columbia, MO 65211
United States
573-882-4229 (Phone)
573-882-2697 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Alexandru Voicu

City University of New York (CUNY) - College of Staten Island ( email )

NY
United States
718-982-2899 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.library.csi.cuny.edu/~pep/voicu.htm

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany
+49 228 38 94 527 (Phone)
+49 228 38 94 510 (Fax)

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