Trong-Anh Trinh, Melbourne Institute - The Differential Impacts of Contingent Employment on Fertility: Evidence from Australia

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Title: The Differential Impacts of Contingent Employment on Fertility: Evidence from Australia

Abstract: Many studies have reported evidence of negative associations between fixed-term contract employment and fertility. With few exceptions, these studies make the unreasonable assumption that employment status is exogenous, and thus results are likely biased. Furthermore, previous research has mostly not considered whether the effects of employment status on fertility might vary with other worker characteristics. We draw on 19 years of data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey to investigate the association between contingent employment (including both fixed-term and casual employment) and first births, and how that association varies with selected worker characteristics. The issue of endogeneity is addressed through the use of instrumental variables estimation. Our instrument, however, fails to satisfy the exclusion restriction in the case of females, and hence we focus only on results for men. Our main finding is that both fixed-term contracts and casual employment lead to a significantly lower probability of first births. We also find that negative fertility effects vary with workers’ education, income, occupational status, and country of origin. This study provides new evidence that the uncertainty associated with contingent employment can significantly reduce demand for children, but impacts are heterogenous and vary with worker characteristics.

Presenter: Trong-Anh Trinh, Melbourne Institute

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