Centre for Vocational Education Research LSE RSS Email Facebook Twitter


CEP discussion paper
The Impact of the Labour Market on the Timing of Marriage and Births in Spain.
Maria Gutierrez-Domenech
December 2002
Paper No' CEPDP0556:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: I20;J12;J13;J18;J20

Tags: duration models; fertility; labour market; education

The main purpose of this paper is to show how the labour market affects Spanish individual fertility decisions. Spain is an interesting case due to its huge fertility decline. Our hypothesis is that precarious Spanish labour markets (i.e. high unemployment rates and fixedterm contracts) postpone childbearing. We test if female employment (full and part-time) is a barrier for family formation. The study is done for a sample of both men and women. We analyse two groups, Cohort 1945-60 and Cohort 1961-77 in order to capture social changes. The paper focuses on the timing of marriage and the birth of a first, second and third child using a Cox hazard approach. Results show that female employment delays marriage in Cohort 1945-60 but it has a reverse effect in Cohort 1961-77. We also find that employed women (regardless of the number of hours) postpone first and second birth in any cohort, even accounting for any potential endogeneity between fertility and participation. Female labour market instability plays an important role in family formation, especially by putting off marriage. From our male sample analysis we learn that male unemployment, at the individual level, impacts negatively on fertility only through delaying marriage.