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Virginia Sánchez Marcos (Universidad de Cantabria)

24 January

The MacCaLM project is pleased to welcome Virginia Sánchez Marcos of the Universidad de Cantabria as the first speaker in the series of MacCaLM seminars in 2020. Virginia is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Spanish Economic Association-SERIEs and has organised the Comittee of the Spanish Economic Associaition (COSME) Gender Economics Workshop. Virginia will present the paper “Labor Market Frictions and the Lowest Low Fertility” (Nezih Guner, Ezgi Kaya and Virginia Sánchez Marcos).


The total fertility rate is well below its replacement level of 2.1 children in high income countries. Why do women choose such low fertility levels? We study how labor market frictions affect the fertility of college-educated women. We focus on two frictions: uncertainty created by dual labor markets (the coexistence of jobs with temporary and open-ended contracts) and inflexibility of work schedules. Using rich administrative data from the Spanish Social Security records, we show that women are less likely to be promoted to permanent jobs than men. Temporary contracts are also associated with a lower probability of first birth. With Time Use data, we also show that women with children are less likely to work in jobs with split-shift schedules, which come with a fixed time cost.

We then build a life-cycle model in which married women decide whether to work or not, how many children to have, and when to have them. In the model, women face a trade-off between having children early and waiting and building their careers. We show that reforms that reduce the labor market duality and eliminate split-shift schedules increase the completed fertility of college-educated from 1.52 to 1.88. These reforms enable women to have more children and have them early in their life-cycle. They also increase the labor force participation of women and eliminate the employment gap between mothers and non-mothers.

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24 January


The University of Edinburgh, School of Economics
Room 3.10, 31 Buccleuch Place
Edinburgh, EH8 9JT United Kingdom
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