The Life-cycle Effects of Childbearing on Mothers' Market Behavior and Economic Well-being: Evidence from Longitudinal Administrative Records in the Netherlands

  • ZHANG, Hongliang (PI)

    Project: Research project

    Project Details


    While substantial research in economics and other social sciences documents a negative relationship between fertility and female labor supply/earnings, the interpretations of these negative correlations remain unclear because fertility and labor market behavior are jointly determined decisions of household utility maximization. A few prior studies that have examined the causal link running from fertility to females’ labor market behavior and outcomes are almost all cross-sectional studies and are restricted to examining the effect of fertility on mothers’ labor market behavior and outcomes at a specific time in the life cycle, usually during or immediately after childbearing. Any inferences concerning the life-cycle effects of childbearing drawn from these cross- sectional evidences are subject to contamination due to cohort differences in the behavioral responses to childbearing, which have been demonstrated to be very important.

    This project plans to employ rich population-wide administrative records from the Netherlands containing longitudinal information on labor force participation, earnings, non-labor income, the retirement age, and pension receipt after retirement to examine the life-cycle effects of childbearing on mothers’ market behavior and economic well- being. In contrast to the existing literature, this project will be able to estimate duration models that allow drawing the full dynamic labor force response to childbearing rather than the cross-sectional snapshot of labor supply and earnings; with the availability of women’s employment and earnings history prior to childbearing, it will also be able to examine the heterogeneity in such effects by mothers’ prior employment history. Furthermore, it will also expand the scope of the existing literature to investigate the long-run consequences of childbearing on mothers, such as retirement decision and well-being after retirement. In addition to improving our understanding of the causal effect of childbearing on the dynamics of women’s labor market/retirement decisions and earnings/retirement entitlements, the findings of this project can also have important implications on which specific population subgroups to target on public policies that are aimed at assisting maternity and mitigating the adverse impacts of childbearing on mothers’ subsequent market work and economic well-being.
    Effective start/end date15/12/1514/12/18


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