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Fertility and Women’s Labor Force Participation in Developing Countries

  • 2007-2011
  • Project
Porter, Maria, University of Oxford

Study: “Fertility and Women’s Labor Force Participation in Developing Countries”
PI(s): Porter, Maria
Co-PI(s): King, Elizabeth
Affiliation(s): University of Oxford
Institutional Partner(s): World Bank
Project Dates:
Start: 2007
End: 2011
Data Source(s): Pooled DHS
Methods: IV Econometric
Geographic Location(s): Cross-Country Analysis (39)

This study focuses on the relationship between fertility outcomes and women’s labor market behavior. As fertility declines around the world, childbearing patterns change in three ways. Women may delay their first birth, space their births, and/or stop having children at an earlier age than previous cohorts.

Patterns of fertility change differ considerably around the world. Each of these changes is likely to have a different impact on the ability of women to work outside the home and on the decisions they make regarding work and childbearing. The researchers use household survey data from 39 countries to estimate the impact of fertility on labor market participation and find that many women in developing countries are less likely to work when they have more children. These findings will provide better evidence for policymakers to better address how women’s labor force participation decisions are affected by fertility in developing countries. It is an important initial step to better address changes in labor-market participation, and whether the labor-market consequences of childbearing is more severe for certain groups of women.

Research Outputs:

King, Elizabeth M., Klasen, Stephan, Porter, Maria & Lomborg, Bjorn. (2009). Women and Development. Global Crises Global Solutions, 12(1), 201-222.

Porter, Maria & King, Elizabeth M. (2009). Fertility and women’s labor force participation in developing countries.

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