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The interplay of employment uncertainty and education in explaining second births in Europe

By Alicia Adsera


Periods of high and persistent unemployment since the late 1980s as well as an upward trend in the share of temporary employment characterize recent labor market instability in Europe. This paper analyzes the associations between timing to a second birth and changing economic environment. In particular, it focuses in understanding what dimensions of economic uncertainty affect women with different educational background. First it employs time varying measures of aggregate market conditions for women in twelve European countries as well as micro-measures of each woman’s labor market history in a proportional hazard model of second births. Both individual and aggregate unemployment as well as temporary employment are coupled with later second births. Unemployment slows down childbearing plans, particularly for the least educated, whereas holding a very short contract deters the most educated. Second, I use the 2006 Spanish Fertility Survey to show how education and the economic conditions - provincial unemployment and share of temporary employment- faced by women as they enter the labor market in their early twenties are connected with their timing to second, employment, Europe, second births, uncertainty

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