The Impact of Extended Reproductive Time Horizons: Evidence from Israel's Expansion of Access to IVF
Demography, Population, and Ecology
Family, Life Course, and Society
Gender and Sexuality
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Women’s time-limited fertility window, compared to men’s longer period of fecundity, could be a key constraint shaping the gender gap in career choices and hence outcomes. Israel’s 1994 policy change to make in vitro fertilization free provides a natural experiment for how fertility time horizons impact women’s investment choices. We find that following the policy change women marry later, complete more college education, achieve more post-college education, and have better labor market outcomes. Additionally, we find the “penalty” in spousal quality for women who get married after thirty substantially dissipates. This suggests that persistent labor market inequality may be partly rooted in biological asymmetries, and policies that protect against age-related infertility or relieve the career-family tradeoff could have far-reaching impacts.