Volume 32 - Article 23 | Pages 691–722  

On the age-specific correlation between fertility and female employment: Heterogeneity over space and time in OECD countries

By Uta Brehm, Henriette Engelhardt

Response Letters

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17 March 2015 | Response Letter

On the critique of association, aggregation and paradoxes in the age-specific and country-heterogeneous association between fertility and female employment

by Uta Brehm

In his response to our article on the age-specific and country-heterogeneous association between fertility and female employment, Rense Nieuwenhuis (2015) rightly elaborates on some critical points of analyzing time-series cross-sectional macro-level data in pooled models. Specifically, he firstly highlights the potential ambivalence between country-specific trajectories and cross-country correlations that are based on pooled estimators. Secondly, he describes different kinds of aggregation paradoxes which he rightly points out to be detrimental to pooled macro-level assertions. In a third point of critique, he derives that analyses on the matter should rather be based on micro-level studies in order to pay due regard to the “great variety in trends across countries”.

Though we can unconditionally agree to most of Rense Nieuwenhuis’ depictions, we do not agree that any of them are of relevance to our study.

13 March 2015 | Response Letter

Association, Aggregation, and Paradoxes: On the Positive Correlation Between Fertility and Women's Employment

by Rense Nieuwenhuis

Brehm and Engelhardt (2015) revisited the cross-country correlation be- tween total fertility rates (TFR) and female labour force participation rates (FLFP), that turned from negative to positive after 1985. They contribute an important analysis by age groups. However, the pre-1985 negative correlation is taken as support for the hypothesis that for women having young children and being employed are (partially) incompatible, implying that the correlation turning positive contradicts that hypothesis regarding the later period. This note provides three comments on why this cross-country correlation is not informative to critically test hypotheses on the degree to which women combine motherhood and employment. 

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