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The Impact of Fertility on Woman’s Labour Force Participation in China under the New Two-Child Policy

Yuanyuan Duan, Renmin University of China
Fei Guo, Macquarie University
Wei Chen, Center for Population and Development Studies, Renmin University of China

Over the past three decades, China has seen a declining female labour force participation rate concomitant with continuing low fertility. The implementation of the universal two-child policy in 2016 has caused growing concerns that it may further disadvantage women in the labour market. However, there has been inadequate research on the impact of fertility on women’s labour force participation, especially with the adjustments to family planning policy. Using data from the China Family Panel Studies in 2014, 2016 and 2018, the paper investigates the role of childbearing in shaping women’s labour force participation using longitudinal logistic regression models with generalised estimating equations (GEE). Further, it explores the effects of the implementation of the universal two-child policy on women’s labour force participation by using the difference-in-differences (DID) approach. The results suggest that women’s labour force participation is negatively associated with having more children, having children aged under three, and having a first birth at an early age. The study also found that the implementation of the universal two-child policy worsened women’s labour force participation. The findings have important implications for the formulation of social policies that aim to help balance women’s employment and childbearing.

Keywords: Fertility and childbirth, Human capital and labour markets, Policy evaluation, Gender

See paper.

  Presented in Session 1. Production and Reproduction