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Author: Doescher, Tabitha Ann
Resulting in 2 citations.
1. Doescher, Tabitha Ann
Fertility and Female Occupational Choice
Report, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 1979
Cohort(s): Mature Women
Publisher: U.S. Department of Labor
Keyword(s): Children; Family Background; Fertility; Life Cycle Research; Work Attitudes; Work History

This study hypothesizes that a working woman selects her occupation, defined as a vector of characteristics, in accordance with her life cycle fertility and labor force participation. It focuses on two characteristics in particular: the occupational atrophy rate (the depreciation in participation) and the flexibility of hours within an occupation. Through the use of a multiperiod utility maximization model and comparable statics analysis, the project investigates the qualitative effect of an exogenous change in family size on the woman's choice of her occupational characteristics. In general, the empirical analysis, which uses data from the NLS of Mature Women, supports the theoretical hypothesis; as family size increases, women tend to select occupations with lower atrophy rates and more flexible hours.
Bibliography Citation
Doescher, Tabitha Ann. "Fertility and Female Occupational Choice." Report, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 1979.
2. Doescher, Tabitha Ann
Fertility and Female Occupational Choice
Ph.D. Dissertation, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1980. DAI-A 42/02, p. 804, August 1981
Cohort(s): Mature Women
Publisher: UMI - University Microfilms, Bell and Howell Information and Learning
Keyword(s): Family Influences; Fertility; Labor Force Participation; Life Cycle Research; Occupational Attainment; Sex Roles

Since World War II, American women with children have entered the labor force in increasing numbers. However, the dual roles of labor force participant and mother are competing roles since each activity requires a considerable commitment of time. Although existing research suggests that women can reconcile these two roles by decreasing family size and/or by curtailing labor force participation, there is a paucity of investigation into alternative strategies. One possible option is that women who want to work and who want to have children can select the occupation which allows the greatest degree of compatibility between market work and childbearing/childrearing. Despite the proliferation of studies on the relationship between female labor force participation and fertility, most researchers neglect the linkage between these two variables and occupation. This dissertation investigates the association both theoretically and empirically. The primary hypothesis of this study is that a working woman selects her occupation, defined as a vector of characteristics, in accordance with her desired life cycle fertility and labor force participation. The study focuses on two characteristics in particular: the occupational atrophy rate (the depreciation in human capital resulting from intermittent labor force participation) and the flexibility of hours within an occupation. The multiperiod theoretical model depicts a representative woman as selecting the occupational atrophy rate and the occupation-specific supply of labor which enables her to maximize her lifetime utility, given her lifetime labor force participation and fertility decisions. Through the use of comparative statics analysis, the model investigates the qualitative effect of an exogenous change in the number of children on the woman's choice of her occupational atrophy rate, her occupation-specific supply of labor in each period, and her occupation-specific flexibility of hours, where flexibility is measured as the difference in the optimal weekly labor supply. The analysis concludes that this effect is composed of two time effects and an earnings, or wage rate, effect. The latter effect can be further decomposed into an income and substitution effect. These theoretical hypotheses are tested with data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Mature Women. The first occupational characteristic, the atrophy rate, is estimated for twenty-one occupations using a wage growth function. The estimated atrophy rate is then the dependent variable in a weighted least squares regression analysis. Because an occupation in which hours are more variable allows more flexibility in scheduling work, the standard deviation of hours worked within an occupation is used as a proxy for the second characteristic, flexibility of hours. This variable is calculated for each of the three-digit Census occupations from the 1970 Current Population Survey--it is the dependent variable in an ordinary least squares regression. For both characteristics, the sign of the coefficient associated with the number of children is of particular interest. In general, the empirical analysis supports the theoretical hypotheses: as family size increases, women tend to select occupations with lower atrophy rates and more flexible hours.
Bibliography Citation
Doescher, Tabitha Ann. Fertility and Female Occupational Choice. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1980. DAI-A 42/02, p. 804, August 1981.