MPIDR Working Paper
Fertility and women’s employment: a meta-analysis
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2006-048, 27 pages.
Rostock, Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung (November 2006)
Revised October 2007
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.