Monday, November 26, 2012

Stephanie Hurder on Occupation Choice, Spouse Choice, and Family Labor Supply

What is the most important problem facing young people in modern economies? Maybe it is navigating the joint processes of choosing a career and choosing and being chosen by a spouse. This is the topic that Stephanie Hurder has chosen for her job market paper: An Integrated Model of Occupation Choice, Spouse Choice, and Family Labor Supply

(If that sounds like an ambitious title, it actually doesn't do full justice to the scope of Stephanie's work, which extends to fertility decisions...)

"Abstract:  I present an integrated model of occupation choice, spouse choice, family labor supply, and fertility that unifies an extensive empirical literature on career and family and provides predictions on the relationship among career, family, and marriage market outcomes. Two key assumptions of the model are that occupations differ both in wages and in an amenity termed flexibility, and that children require parental time that has no market substitute. Occupations with high costs of flexibility, modeled as a nonlinearity in wages, have a lower fraction of women, less positive assortative mating on earnings, and lower fertility among dual-career couples. Costly flexibility may induce high-earning couples to share home production, which rewards agents who are simultaneously high-earning and productive in child care. Empirical evidence is consistent with two main theoretical predictions: dual-career couples in more flexible occupations are more likely to have children, and professional women who achieve “career and family” in inflexible occupations are more likely to have lower-earning husbands or husbands less educated than themselves."

Stephanie’s work allows us to consider how changes in technology that make child-rearing more efficient (e.g. bottle feeding and disposable diapers) also change the labor supply of both men and women, and lead to demand for more family friendly work schedules. It also allows us to consider how these kinds of changes in women’s career aspirations and opportunities may change the demand for husbands who can efficiently produce at home as well as at work, as it changes the marriage market for women with demanding careers.

Stephanie is on the market, so you could hire her this year.

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