Discussion paper

DP11586 The Career Costs of Children

We estimate a dynamic life-cycle model of labor supply, fertility and savings, incorporating
occupational choices, with specific wage paths and skill atrophy that vary
over the career. This allows us to understand the trade-o between occupational choice
and desired fertility, as well as the sorting both into the labor market and across occupations.
We quantify the life-cycle career costs associated with children, how they
decompose into loss of skills during interruptions, lost earnings opportunities and selection
into more child-friendly occupations. We analyze the long-run effects of policies that
encourage fertility and show that they are considerably smaller than short-run effects.


Dustmann, C, K Stevens and J Adda (2016), ‘DP11586 The Career Costs of Children‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 11586. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp11586