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Employment after childbearing and women's subsequent labour force participation: Evidence from the British 1958 birth cohort

Abstract

Data on women from the British 1958 Cohort Study is used as evidence on the determinants of their labour force participation at age 33. A conventional cross-sectional model of full or part-time employment makes use of some longitudinal material not normally included in such models. Whether the woman made the hitherto customary break from. employment at the time of the first maternity is included in recognition that this cohort was among the first generation to be offered Statutory Maternity Leave. Results suggest that the presence of children (still) inhibits full-time employment and raises the probability of part-time employment; that income effects on participation have continued to weaken while wage elasticity for full-time employment is high. Continuity of employment straight after childbearing raises the chances of subsequent full-time employment, but by no means guarantees it. Gains from maternity leave and other family friendly employment policies have been far from uniform.

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All correspondence to Heather Joshi. Our research was supported by the ESRC Grant R000234600. Helpful comments by John F. Ermisch, Siv Gustafsson and two anonymous referees are gratefully acknowledged. Responsible editors: Siv S. Gustafsson, John F. Ermisch.

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Joshil, H., Macran, S. & Dex, S. Employment after childbearing and women's subsequent labour force participation: Evidence from the British 1958 birth cohort. J Popul Econ 9, 325–348 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00176691

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00176691

JEL classification

  • J 22
  • J 13

Key words

  • Maternity leave
  • childbirth
  • labor force participation