Abstract

This study is based on time series data from 1947–1977 on fertility and female labor force participation, and examines (a) the effects of male relative income and female earnings on the level and timing of fertility and female labor force participation, and (b) the relative importance of variations in relative income and female wage rates in explaining the fluctuations in both fertility and female labor supply. The results suggest that relative income exerts a significant positive effect on fertility and a negative effect on female work effort. However, female wage rates appear to be the dominant factor in explaining variations in fertility and female labor force participation over the past two decades, with increases in female earnings leading to both depressed fertility and increased labor force participation of women.

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