A striking observation of the U.S. and other labor markets is the weak position of women in terms of job attachment, employment, and earnings relative to men. We develop a model of fertility and labor market decisions to study the impact of fertility on gender differences in labor turnover, employment, and wages. In our framework, individuals search for jobs and accumulate general (experience) and specific (tenure) human capital when they work. They can also increase their wage by moving to a job of higher quality. Labor market decisions (e.g., job acceptance and job mobility) may differ across genders: females that give birth may decide to interrupt their labor market attachment in order to enjoy the value of staying at home with their children. The model economy is successfully calibrated to match aggregate statistics in terms of fertility, employment, and wages. We find that fertility decisions generate important gender differences in turnover rates, with long lasting effects in employment and wages. These differences in labor turnover account for almost all the U.S. gender wage gap that is attributed to labor market experience by Blau and Kahn (2000, Journal of Labor Economics 15 (1), 1-42). The model also implies a very small role of tenure capital in accounting for wage differences between males and females (gender gap), and between females with and without children (family gap). (Copyright: Elsevier)
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