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Co-resident and absent mothers: Motherhood and labour force participation in South Africa

Dorrit, Posel and Gabrielle, van der Stoep (2008): Co-resident and absent mothers: Motherhood and labour force participation in South Africa.

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Abstract

The effects of motherhood on women's labour force participation are estimated usually for mothers who are co-resident with their children. This paper, however, shows that a co-residency requirement upwardly biases the negative effects of motherhood in a country where labour force participation includes (temporary) migration to places of employment. In contrast to co-resident mothers in South Africa, not co-resident mothers are significantly more likely to be labour force participants. The selection on co-residency, which excludes mothers who are labour migrants, therefore overestimates the negative relationship between motherhood and labour force participation. We find also that women who are not biological mothers are significantly less likely to be labour force participants if they live in households with children, consistent with the foster age of children in extended households.

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