"Evolution of Women's Lifetime Earnings in Response to Early Fertility Shocks"Add to Calendar
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
This paper evaluates the effect of unplanned fertility shocks on women's careers. I exploit the early repeal of abortion bans in five US states. This leads to variation in access to abortion across states and birth cohorts, which allows the estimation of the effect of accessing abortion at a certain age on women's fertility. The evidence suggests that accessing abortion before the age of 21 delayed the age at which women gave birth to their first child by half a year on average. I also document an increase in completed fertility among black women who received access to abortion early in their fertility cycle. The resulting variation in fertility realizations is then used to estimate the effect of fertility on women's careers. I find that labor earnings increase substantially as a result of the delay of an unplanned start of motherhood. Results from the effect of age of start of motherhood on labor supply and occupation status suggest that most earnings gains are due to better occupations rather than increase in labor hours worked.