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Motherhood and Female Labor Force Participation: Evidence from Infertility Shocks
Authors: Jorge M. Agüero & Mindy S. Marks
Source: American Economic Review, 2008. vol. 98(2), pages 500-504, DOI:10.1257/aer.98.2.500
Topic(s): Fertility
Country: Latin American/Caribbean
  Multiple L.A./Caribbean Countries
Published: MAY 2008
Abstract: Abstract We propose a new exogenous source of variation in family size based on infertility shocks to nd the causal e ect of children on female labor force participation. Clearly, infertility a ects the number of children a women can have. In addi- tion, other than the fact of increasing with age, infertility is virtually random. Thus, an indicator variable for the infertility status of women of childbearing age is a plausible instrument for childbearing. We apply this methodology to a sample of women in six Latin American countries, where OLS estimates suggest a negative relationship between children and women's labor force participation. Our main nding is that, after using the infertility instrument, there is no evi- dence that children have a causal e ect on the labor force participation of women.