Fertility, Female Labor Force Participation, and the Demographic Dividend

David E. Bloom, Harvard University
David Canning, Harvard University
Guenther Fink, Harvard University
Jocelyn E. Finlay, Harvard University

We estimate the effect of fertility on female labor force participation on a cross-country panel data using abortion legislation as an instrument for fertility. We find a large negative effect of the fertility rate on female labor force participation. The direct effect is concentrated on those aged 20-39 but we find that cohort participation is persistent over time giving an effect in older women. We present a simulation model of the effect of fertility reduction on income per capita taking into account these changes in female labor force participation as well as population numbers and age structure.

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Presented in Session 42: Economic Growth, Gender, and Intergenerational Relations