Self-employment and Fertility Intentions in Europe

Berkay Ozcan , London School of Economics
Antonella Bancalari, London School of Economics

Self-employment and fertility relationship is not well-understood. Cross-country studies show a negative association between self-employment and fertility rates, while individual-level analyses suggest a positive relationship. We hypothesize that inconsistency might be due to the heterogeneity of the self-employed. We analyze three types of self-employed (i.e. Entrepreneur, Laborer, and Professional) and their fertility intentions using microdata from the European Social Survey (ESS) for ~20 countries. We use mixed-effects models incorporating individual and country-specific factors, and run separate analyses by gender and parity. We find that entrepreneur or laborer type of self-employed men are more likely to report intentions to become a father than wage-earner men. Only laborer type of self-employed women are more likely to report positive intentions compared to similar wage-earner women. Self-employment type is not associated with subsequent births. Our findings are robust to various controls and fixed-effects specifications. We provide additional analyses to explore various mechanisms.

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 Presented in Session 58. Labor Market Change and Fertility