Will postponing childbirth reduce gender inequality?
Our study explores this question using data from over 40 countries and more than 30 years. We find that postponing fertility leads to a 12% decline in the adjusted gender wage gap, i.e. the differences in earnings existing between comparable men and women.
One major challenge in our research was dealing with reverse causality. One could expect that fertility choices are informed by the prevailing gender wage gaps. In countries where gender differences in pay are large, the opportunity cost of having children could be smaller, which could foster fertility. We employ an instrumental variable approach to address this (and similar) concerns. To achieve this, we introduce a novel instrument to the literature: international variation in adoption of oral contraceptive, commonly known as the pill. Our point estimates remain stable, which suggests a causal link between fertility choices and gender wage gaps.
The slides from the presentation are below. All comments are welcome.