UCL Department of Economics


Marta Cardoso Lopes

Marta Cardoso Lopes

Marta Cardoso Lopes

Marta Cardoso Lopes - Website

Research interests

Primary: Labour Economics, Applied Microeconomics
econdary: Family Economics, Computational Economics

Paper Title - 'Job Security and Fertility Decisions'

Abstract - As temporary employment is highly predominant among young women, job security should be taken into consideration when fertility choices are made. In this paper I present reduced-form evidence that women working on fixed-term contracts delay maternity, especially for the first birth. Through a policy reform in Portugal in 2003, I show that the negative effect of job insecurity might be attenuated by the contract duration. To identify the different channels of these results, I build and estimate a dynamic life-cycle structural model where women decide both labour supply and fertility, conditional on the characteristics of the job contract.

Fixed-term contracts have limited duration and a maximum number of renewals while permanent contracts have no expiring date, but higher firing costs associated. Simulating different labour market scenarios, I find that increasing the conversion rate of fixed-term to permanent contracts can provide a positive effect on fertility choices. The result is mainly driven by the decrease in the number of childless women corroborating the reduced-form evidence for the first birth decision. In fact, when I simulate contract specific tax rates the outcome is a compositional change among the number of children in the household, indicating income as relatively more important for the second birth decision.


  • Pedro Portugal (Nova SBE and Bank of Portugal)
  • Pedro Carneiro (UCL)
  • Lars Nesheim (UCL)
  • Aureo de Paula (UCL)