Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies,
Uppsala University, Department of Economics

No 2012:17: For some mothers more than others: how children matter for labour market outcomes when both fertility and female employment are low

Krzysztof Karbownik () and Michal Myck
Additional contact information
Krzysztof Karbownik: Uppsala Center for Labor Studies, Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Michal Myck: CenEA and DIW-Berlin

Abstract: We estimate the causal relationship between family size and labour market outcomes for families in low fertility and low female employment regime. Family size is instrumented using twinning and gender composition of the first two children. Among families with at least one child we identify the average causal effect of an additional child on mother’s employment to be -7.1 percentage points. However, we find no effect of additional children on female employment among families with two or more kids. Heterogeneity analysis suggests no causal effects of fertility on female employment among mothers with less than college education and older mothers (born before 1978). Furthermore, we find evidence for the interaction of family size with maternal education and age. An unintuitive feature of our finding is that we identify a positive bias of OLS estimates for highly educated mothers and for mothers born after 1977.

Keywords: labour supply; family size; female employment

JEL-codes: J13; J22

28 pages, October 4, 2012

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