Why Is Fertility on the Rise in Egypt? The Role of Women’s Employment Opportunities

Caroline Krafft, University of Minnesota

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 employment opportunities for women. By using a unique panel dataset with detailed fertility and employment histories, the effects of local employment opportunities on women’s fertility can be estimated. These are calculated by comparing the effect of changing economic conditions on the spacing and occurrence of sequential births for the same women, essentially using a duration model with woman-specific fixed effects. Preliminary results indicate that the decrease in public sector opportunities, which are particularly appealing to women, and the increasing role of the private sector have contributed to the rise in fertility.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Fertility Intentions and Behavior