Is Employment an Occupational Hazard for Fertility?

A colleague and friend of mine, Katia Begall, successfully defended her PhD dissertation: Occupational Hazard? The Relationship between Working Conditions and Fertility. It’s is a great study, several chapters of which already were published in high impact journals.

From the press release:

Good qualifications, a career with good prospects, a full-time job in a mainly male environment and irregular hours are all factors that cause women to postpone having their first child. These are some of the findings from research carried out by Katia Begall in four separate studies into the relationship between working conditions and fertility. She discovered that highly qualified women working in sectors that employ relatively few women are much more likely to postpone having their first child. Women working in sectors with a relatively large female workforce, such as healthcare and education, are less likely to postpone the birth of their first child. Begall has come up with two explanations: ‘Having children appears to be “catching” in sectors employing mainly women. What’s more, it is easier to have children in these sectors as employees often qualify for paid parental leave.’ The partner’s qualifications and type of work appear to have little impact on the timing of the first child. ‘The woman’s job is the deciding factor, although we did note a delay among highly qualified men, which we put down to the fact that many of them are in relationships with highly qualified women.’

The press release is to be found here, and the complete dissertation can be found online as well.

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