NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Jobs and Kids: Female Employment and Fertility in Rural China

Hai Fang, Karen N. Eggleston, John A. Rizzo, Richard J. Zeckhauser

NBER Working Paper No. 15886
Issued in April 2010
NBER Program(s):   LS

Data on 2,355 married women from the 2006 China Health and Nutrition Survey are used to study how female employment affects fertility in China. China has deep concerns with both population size and female employment, so the relationship between the two should be better understood. Causality flows in both directions. A conceptual model shows how employment prospects affect fertility. Then a well-validated instrumental variable isolates this effect. Female employment reduces a married woman’s preferred number of children by 0.35 on average and her actual number by 0.50. Ramifications for China’s one-child policy are discussed.

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This paper was revised on November 20, 2012

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