Human capital and the timing of the first birth

8 July 2021
Author: Jesse Naidoo
Publication Type: Working Paper
JEL Code: F13, F15, F43, J17, J24

This paper constructs and partially characterizes the solution of a life-cycle model of fertility choice and human capital accumulation. Because children take time to raise, women face a trade-off between between lifetime earnings and childbearing. The model implies that (i) earnings must drop discontinuously at the time of a birth; (ii) age at first birth and human capital will be positively correlated; and (iii) a permanently higher demand for skill causes women to delay first births. I show that the second of these predictions holds in a sample of South African women drawn from the first wave of the National Income Dynamics Study.

Series title: Working paper 864
1 July 2021
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