The Influence of Labor Market Participation and Educational Attainment on the Transition to First Birth in Post-Communist Estonia

Katia Begall, University of Groningen

This paper examines the influence of educational attainment and labor market participation on the transition to first birth in Estonia before and after the collapse of the communist regime. According to the opportunity cost hypothesis, women with high educational attainment are expected to postpone childbirth after the transition because of their higher earning potential while according to the economic uncertainty hypothesis, lower educated women not participating in the labor market are expected to postpone the birth of their first child because they lack the necessary economic resources. These theoretical arguments are evaluated by applying exponential transition rate models of the transition to first birth to data from the Estonian Social Survey 2004. Results show that the effect of labor market participation differs between educational levels: while having a paid job appears to be an important prerequisite for childbirth for the highly educated, the opposite is found for lower educated women.

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Presented in Poster Session 2