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posted on 20.02.2020by Chiara Comolli
Many studies show that labor
market uncertainties are important predictors of the postponement of
parenthood. While most existing studies investigate the consequences of the
deterioration of employment conditions in absolute terms, in this paper I test
the hypothesis that relative changes in occupational conditions affect
childbearing choices. In particular, I follow the Easterlin Hypothesis of
resources and aspirations to investigate how intergenerational mobility among
American women during the Great Recession affected their chances of becoming
mothers. Using respondents’ labor market trajectories from the PSID 2003-2017
data, I show that when women hold an occupational position as prestigious as
that held by their parents when they were growing up, they are more likely to
enter motherhood than when they hold a downward-mobile job. I further show that
this mechanism is stronger when aggregate labor market conditions deteriorate,
assumedly during the crisis.