Fertility and women’s employment: approach through a meta-analysis

Anna Matysiak, Warsaw School of Economics
Daniele Vignoli, University of Florence

Our research objective was to systematise the existing literature on the relation between fertility and women’s employment at the micro-level. Instead of carrying out a traditional literature review, we conducted a meta-analysis. This allowed us to compare estimates from different studies standardised for the country analysed, the method applied, control variables used, or sample selected. We focused on two effects: the impact of work on fertility and the impact of young children on employment entry. First, we found a high variation in the studied effects among the institutional settings, reflecting the existence of a north-south gradient. Second, we observed a significant change in the effects over time. Finally, we demonstrated that a failure to account for the respondent’s social background, partner and job characteristics tends to produce a bias to the estimated effects. Overall, our results undoubtly show that the relationship between fertility and women's work depends largely on the socio-cultural and institutional context as well as on the method applied for the analysis.

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Presented in Session 2: Work-Family Balance in Europe