Childbirth and female labour market involvement: differences between natives and immigrant women in Switzerland

Elena Vidal-Coso, Université de Genève

This research analyses differences between native and immigrant women in Switzerland in the effect of childbirth on women’s decisions either to leave the labour market or to modify the amount of time devoted to paid work. Using panel data from the Swiss Labor Force Survey for the period 2010-2015, analysis focuses on the transitions experienced for employed women from t-1 (1 year prior) to different levels of labor market involvement in t (reference week) after childbirth (which occurs when a woman has a child under 1 year of age in t). As one of the primary effects of children on women’s labor supply in Switzerland is through the number of hours worked, dynamics of labour market participation from t-1 to t include four possible outcomes: same working hours, less working hours, more working hours and withdraw from employment. As fertility is not totally exogenous to labour force participation, using a multinomial probit model, the joint probability of labour market participation and childbirth is estimated. This model is applied to account for the possible endogeneity surrounding the decision to have a child, as well as for any possible selection bias of maternity according with women’s national origin. The joint estimation controls for the unobserved individual characteristics affecting both the decision of having a child and the labour market decision. Differences regarding skill composition and job opportunities may explain diversity in labour supply surrounding childbirth among diverse national groups. Consequently, analysis focus particularly on the relative influence of women’s opportunity cost measured through educational attainment and job characteristics, upon the decision to “totally or partially leave the paid job”. Place of residence and household variables are also included in the analysis, especially the presence of other children, partner’s profile (educational level, job characteristics), total household income and, woman’s contribution to household income.

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Presented in Session 73: Families and gender