Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: The Impact of Job Loss on Fertility Decisions Among Dual-Earner Households: Evidence from the Great Recession

Friday, November 13, 2015 : 1:30 PM
President's Room (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Jennifer E. Muz, University of California, Irvine
This paper focuses on the impact of job loss to dual-earner married couples on household fertility decisions, drawing upon the recent experience of job loss during the Great Recession.  I build two longitudinal datasets, covering the years 2003-2011: (1) a state-quarter dataset that matches quarterly job separations to fertility rates four quarters in the future at the state level; and (2) a county-year dataset that matches yearly job separations to fertility rates in the following year at the county level.  I present results for two fixed effect, panel models.  For the main specification, I estimate the impact of separations and the interaction between separations and the share of females in dual-earner households on fertility rates among married women.  As expected, job separations have a negative impact on fertility.  However, estimates indicate that states and counties with larger shares of females in dual-earner households experience lesser declines in fertility rates in response to job losses.  Further, this effect is strongest when female separations are considered separately from male separations and for fertility rates among women aged 20-34.  Therefore, I find evidence that females in dual-earner households that suffer job losses are more likely to substitute toward child-rearing compared to otherwise similar women who are not in dual-earner households.  This finding has implications for female re-entry into the work force after recessions associated wiht high levels of job loss, such as the Great Recession.  Future analysis will explore whether states that have more generous unemployment benefits or maternity leave programs have differential responses.