Resources and aspirations during the Great Recession: the impact on the transition to motherhood

2020-02-20T09:23:23Z (GMT) by 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.