Women's employment in post-socialist Poland: a barrier or a precondition to childbearing?

Anna Matysiak, Warsaw School of Economics

In this paper, we model interdependencies between fertility and women's employment in post-socialist Poland, a country that experienced a rapid decline in fertility and employment after 1989. In view of the fact that finding and maintaining employment became difficult, a hypothesis has been formulated that women postpone childbearing until they find a job. Testing this hypothesis requires taking into account women’s plans regarding the number of children and involvement in paid work. This is done by the simultaneous estimation of three hazard models: transition to birth, employment entry and employment exit. Our results reveal a strong conflict between fertility and women's work. However, they also indicate that women do not perceive employment as a barrier, but rather as a precondition to childbearing. This finding is consistent with our research hypothesis. We conclude that better prospects for women’s employment can result in fertility increase. Appropriate policies aimed at easing incompatibilities between fertility and women’s work are highly desired, but their effective implementation should be preceded by a better understanding of the nature of woman’s needs.

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Presented in Session 95: Fertility in Western and Eastern Europe