Journal of Economic Growth

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 79–101 | Cite as

Fertility, female labor force participation, and the demographic dividend

  • David E. Bloom
  • David Canning
  • Günther Fink
  • Jocelyn E. Finlay
Open Access
Article

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 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • David E. Bloom
    • 1
  • David Canning
    • 1
  • Günther Fink
    • 1
  • Jocelyn E. Finlay
    • 1
  1. 1.Program on the Global Demography of AgingHarvard School of Public Health, Harvard UniversityBostonUSA

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