Discussion paper

DP4011 Employment, Family Union and Childbearing Decisions in Great Britain

The Paper investigates the relationship of work and family life in Britain. Using hazard regression techniques we estimate a five-equation model, which includes birth events, union formation, union dissolution, employment and non-employment events. The model allows for unobserved heterogeneity that is correlated across all five equations. We use information from the British Household Panel Survey, including the retrospective histories concerning work, union, and child bearing, to estimate this model. We obtain well-defined parameter estimates, including significant and correlated unobserved heterogeneity. We find that transitions in and out of employment for men are relatively independent of other transitions. In contrast, there are strong links between female employment, having children and union formation. By undertaking a detailed micro simulations analysis, we show that different levels of female labour force participation do not necessarily lead to large changes in fertility levels. Changes in union formation and fertility levels, on the other hand, do have a significant impact on employment rates.


Burgess, S, C Propper, A Aassve and M Dickson (2003), ‘DP4011 Employment, Family Union and Childbearing Decisions in Great Britain‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 4011. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp4011