Do young children prohibit mothers from working? A study in the Amhara Region, Ethiopia
Theoretical work relating economic effect of children suggests that labor market participation decreases for mothers with large number of young children and increases when children are adults. The majority of empirical studies find results consistent with this expectation, but there are some studies which fail to confirm this theoretical prediction for the developing countries. This paper used data from a household survey of rural and urban married women to test the theoretical prediction that labor market participation decreases for mothers with large number of young children and increases when children are adults. Results show that when all households are considered, children seem to have positive effects on the probability of the mother’s work participation. However, when household lifecycle and rural-urban location differences are considered, coefficients are negative (but not statistically insignificant) for urban households with large number of young children and positive (and statistically significant) for those households with more adult children; whereas for rural households, these coefficient signs are reversed. Results from the quantitative data combined with qualitative narratives suggest that large numbers of young children do not prohibit rural mothers from working.
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