The effects of unemployment on fertility

Signe Hald Andersen, Berkay Özcan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We analyse the effects of unemployment on the likelihood of having a first and second birth in Denmark. The existing studies on this topic have generated contradictory results, and have made a weak case for the exogeneity of unemployment to fertility. We suggest that firm closures constitute an exogenous source of unemployment, and adopt firm closures as an instrument for estimating individuals’ fertility responses. Using a life-course approach, we exploit unique administrative data from Denmark that include all Danish residents born in 1966 and followed between 1982 and 2006. The data contain monthly information about each individual's employment status, type of employer, relationship status and partner's characteristics; as well as very detailed fertility information, including on stillbirths and registered miscarriages. We find that unemployment has a positive effect on motherhood transitions and a negative effect on fatherhood transitions, although the latter is not robust to the inclusion of controls. We find no significant effect of unemployment on second births.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100401
JournalAdvances in Life Course Research
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Causality
  • Firm closures
  • First and second conceptions
  • Unemployment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'The effects of unemployment on fertility'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this