Labor Market Stability and Fertility Decisions


Eduardo Polo-Muro

Javier Vazquez-Grenno

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2023-36 | November 21, 2023

This paper studies how fertility decisions respond to an improvement in job stability using variation from the large and unexpected regularization of undocumented immigrants in Spain implemented during the first half of 2005. This policy change improved substantially the labor market opportunities of affected men and women, many of which left the informality of house keeping service sectors toward more formal, stable, and higher paying jobs in larger firms (Elias et al., 2023). In this paper, we estimate the effects of the regularization on fertility rates using two alternative difference-in-differences strategies that compare fertility behavior of “eligible” and “non-eligible” candidate women to obtain the legal status, both on aggregate and at the local level. Our findings suggests that gaining work permits leads to a significant increase in women fertility. Our preferred estimates indicate that the regularization increased fertility rates among affected women by around 5 points, which is a 10 percent increase.

About the Authors
Joan Monras is a research advisor in the Economic Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Learn more about Joan Monras