Females Have Fewer?: The Effect of a Manager's Gender on Number of Children

Student Author(s)

Julia Toren

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Sarah Estelle, Economics

Document Type


Event Date



As female labor force participation rates have risen, the fertility rate in the United States has declined, reaching an all-time low of 62.3 births per 1000 women in 2016 (Lu et al. 2015; Rossen et al. 2016; U.S. Department of Labor 2015). If working women are limiting their family size with their careers in mind, this could indicate obstacles or societal expectations that discourage women from combining large families and successful careers, a trade-off that may differ from men. This research explores the gender differences in the number of children among those in management level positions. Extant literature suggests children significantly impact a woman’s labor market behaviors and wages; yet, there is limited analysis on how work and family decisions affect a woman’s family size and how that contrasts to a man’s, specifically among business professionals in the United States. Using individual-level data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79), I employ econometric techniques to isolate the effects of gender on family size among managers. Data on attitudes toward gender roles and ideal family size control for some of the selection bias and non-randomness present within the selected sample of those in management positions, yielding results that contribute to the evaluation of work and family life among male and female professionals.

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