Volume 41 - Article 45 | Pages 1277–1288  

Is a positive association between female employment and fertility still spurious in developed countries?

By Takashi Oshio


Background: The cross-sectional association between female employment and fertility across developed countries turned from negative to positive during the mid-1980s. The conventional view is that the observed positive association is spurious owing to country-specific heterogeneity.

Objective: We revisit the validity of this view using recent data up to 2017 from 24 countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Methods: Based on the data downloaded from the OECD database, we estimate the time-series association between the female labor force participation rate (FLFP) and total fertility rate (TFR) by fixed-effects regression models, which can control for country-specific heterogeneity.

Results: The more recent the data set used, the more likely it is that the time-series correlation will be positive between FLFP and TFR, even after controlling for country-specific heterogeneity. We also observe that public spending on families, especially in the form of benefits in kind, starts increasing once FLFP becomes sufficiently high.

Conclusions: A positive correlation between female employment and fertility in developed countries is no longer attributable to country-specific heterogeneity. The results are supportive of the view that higher female employment can make socioinstitutional contexts more favorable for childbearing, leading to a positive association between FLFP and TFR.

Contribution: This study underscored the need for further investigation of the association between female employment and fertility, which is likely to have changed in recent decades.

Author's Affiliation

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

The influence of parental cancer on the mental health of children and young adults: Evidence from Norwegian register data on healthcare consultations
Volume 50 - Article 27    | Keywords: cancer, children, fixed effects, longitudinal, mental health, parents registers

Measuring the educational gradient of period fertility in 28 European countries: A new approach based on parity-specific fertility estimates
Volume 49 - Article 34    | Keywords: education, Europe, period fertility, quantum, tempo, total fertility rate (TFR)

Ultra-Orthodox fertility and marriage in the United States: Evidence from the American Community Survey
Volume 49 - Article 29    | Keywords: age at first marriage, American Community Survey (ACS), fertility, Judaism, marriage, religion, total fertility rate (TFR), Ultra-Orthodox Judaism

The contribution of assisted reproductive technology to fertility rates and parity transition: An analysis of Australian data
Volume 45 - Article 35    | Keywords: childbearing, childlessness, first birth, reproduction, total fertility rate (TFR)

Explaining the MENA paradox: Rising educational attainment yet stagnant female labor force participation
Volume 43 - Article 28    | Keywords: employment, female labor force participation, human capital, labor market, Middle East, North Africa

Cited References: 20

Download to Citation Manager


Google Scholar

Article ID