Couples' Employment Dynamic During the Great Recession and their Transition to Parenthood in the US

2017-10-06T14:11:25Z (GMT) by Chiara Comolli
The aim of this paper is to investigate how various aspects of the economic uncertainty generated by the Great Recession combined and affected fertility behavior among American couples, focusing particularly on the transition to the first birth. The theoretical argument followed here points at the manifest growing difficulties in the labor market during the period 2008-2010 in the US, and at how different employment dynamics within couples produced heterogeneous consequences in terms of childbearing decisions. The couple perspective, with respect to the existing literature, is the first important innovation of this paper. The second distinguishing feature of the paper is that it also addresses the interplay between individual- and aggregate-level labor market conditions in shaping the probability of having children, testing the existence of a multiplicative or moderating effect of contextual conditions on top of individual-level circumstances. Results show that dual-earner couples tend to have a higher probability of parenthood compared to other employment status combinations between partners, especially during periods of greater labor market uncertainty.