Relative Wage Changes and Timing of Childbearing

Aliaksandr Amialchuk, University of Toledo

Recent changes in the U.S. wage structure reflected a rise in demand for more skilled workers and females. I use relative wage changes to identify the effects of women’s wages and husbands’ earnings on the timing and spacing and on the age-specific and total birth rates. I use 1984-1996 SIPP panels to construct individual fertility histories and NCHS birth certificate data to construct age-specific and total birth rates. I get state, region, age and education specific wage series from the CPS/ORG data. I use two types of instruments for the wages: group indicators within group-level regressions and predicted labor demand shifts. Results using individual and group-level earnings indicate that higher female wage leads to delay of births. Male earnings do not play important role for the timing of childbearing. Results with grouped data on birth rates suggest that higher female wages delay births but have no effect on total fertility.

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Presented in Session 19: Factors Affecting Fertility Timing