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Human Capital and the Timing of the First Birth

Jesse Naidoo
Publication date
July 2021

I construct and partially characterize 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.

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Series title
Working paper 864
JEL classifications