Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 667–682 | Cite as

A note on the changing relationship between fertility and female employment rates in developed countries

  • Namkee Ahn
  • Pedro Mira


In this paper we look at a panel of OECD aggregate fertility and labor market data between 1970 and 1995 and we report some striking recent developments. Total Fertility Rates (TFR) were falling and Female Participation Rates (FPR) were increasing, conforming to a well known long-run trend. Along the cross-sectional dimension, the correlation between TFR and FPR was negative and significant during the 1970's and up to the early 1980's. This seemed consistent with secular comovements. However, by the late 1980's the correlation had become positive and equally significant. We discuss our findings within the framework of standard neoclassical models of fertility and labor supply adapted to macro data, as in Butz and Ward (1979).

JEL classification: J11, J13, J22 
Key words: Fertility, female participation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Namkee Ahn
    • 1
  • Pedro Mira
    • 2
  1. 1.FEDEA, Jorge Juan 46, 28001 Madrid, Spain (Fax: +34-91-577-9575; e-mail:
  2. 2.CEMFI, Casado del Alisal 5, 28014 Madrid, Spain (Fax: +34-91-429-1056; e-mail:

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