Discussion paper

DP17255 Fertility and Labor Market Responses to Reductions in Mortality

We investigate women’s fertility, labor and marriage market responses to large declines in
child mortality. We find delayed childbearing, with lower intensive and extensive margin fertility,
a decline in the chances of ever having married, increased labor force participation and an
improvement in occupational status. This constitutes the first evidence that improvements in
child survival allow women to start fertility later and invest more in the labor market. We
present a new theory of fertility that incorporates dynamic choices and reconciles our findings
with existing models of behavior.


Bhalotra, S, A Venkataramani and S Walther (2022), ‘DP17255 Fertility and Labor Market Responses to Reductions in Mortality‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 17255. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp17255