Employment, Education and Childbearing Decisions in Norway, 1993-2016

Lars Dommermuth, Research Dep., Statistics Norway
Tom Kornstad, Research Dep., Statistics Norway
Trude Lappegard, University of Oslo

In this paper, we revisit the relationship between female employment and childbearing, focusing on Norway. There are several arguments for the relevance of revisiting the relationship between female employment and childbearing. First, decisions about employment and fertility is embedded in the social policy context and over the last decades, generous arrangements have improved substantially in Norway. This may indicate reduced opportunity cost of having children for most Norwegian women and thus less fertility differences between employed and not employed women. Second, the meaning of education has changed because more women taking higher education. This raises the question about whether the relationship between employment and childbearing has changed for different educational groups. Third, a high proportion of Norwegian women work part-time, but a downward trend is emerging. That fewer women choose part-time work is most likely because of the increasing trend in women with higher education. Scholars argue that high level of female part-time work is a prerequisite for the relatively high fertility in Norway. This raises the question about whether relatively high fertility is sustainable with increasing female full-time employment. Applying data covering all women living in Norway 1992-2016, we investigate the effect of (current) employment status of women on their childbearing over time, and whether this effect have changed among women with different educational attainment. To account for the possibility that the birth- and the employment process might be jointly determined, and the possible selection issues arising from this, we employ a simultaneous equations approach for hazard models. In addition, we use the estimated model for simulation experiments focusing on the interrelationship between employment, childbearing and education. That is, we can quantify how much of the decreasing fertility level that is a result of increased female educational attainment.

Presented in Session 8: Employment, Education, and Fertility