Open Access
Article

Journal of Economic Growth

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 79-101

Fertility, female labor force participation, and the demographic dividend

Authors

    • Program on the Global Demography of AgingHarvard School of Public Health, Harvard University
  • David Canning
    • Program on the Global Demography of AgingHarvard School of Public Health, Harvard University
  • Günther Fink
    • Program on the Global Demography of AgingHarvard School of Public Health, Harvard University
  • Jocelyn E. Finlay
    • Program on the Global Demography of AgingHarvard School of Public Health, Harvard University

DOI: 10.1007/s10887-009-9039-9

Abstract

We estimate the effect of fertility on female labor force participation in a panel of countries using abortion legislation as an instrument for fertility. We find that removing legal restrictions on abortion significantly reduces fertility and estimate that, on average, a birth reduces a woman’s labor supply by almost 2 years during her reproductive life. Our results imply that behavioral change, in the form of increased female labor supply, contributes significantly to economic growth during the demographic transition when fertility declines.

Keywords

Fertility Labor supply Demographic dividend

JEL Classification

J13 J22 O15

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009