Why is fertility on the rise in Egypt? The role of women’s employment opportunities

Why is fertility on the rise in Egypt? The role of women’s employment opportunities

Can declining employment opportunities for women reverse the fertility transition? This paper presents new evidence that the demographic transition has not just stalled, but in fact reversed in Egypt. After falling for decades, fertility rates are increasing. The drivers of rising fertility rates are examined, with a particular focus on the role of declining public sector employment opportunities for women. By using unique data with detailed fertility and employment histories, the effects of public sector employment opportunities on women’s fertility are estimated. Estimates are calculated by examining the effect of public sector employment on the spacing and occurrence of births using discrete-time hazard models, the results of which are then used to simulate total fertility rates. The potential endogeneity of employment is addressed by incorporating woman-specific fixed effects, incorporating local employment opportunities rather than women’s own employment, and using local employment opportunities as an instrument.
 
Results indicate that the decrease in public sector employment, which is particularly appealing to women, has contributed to the rise in fertility.
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