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Abstract

The recent horticultural export boom in Senegal has created new off-farm wage employment opportunities for the rural population, especially for women. We hypothesise that female wage employment may lower fertility rates through an income effect, an empowerment effect and a substitution effect, and address this question empirically using household survey data and two different regression techniques (a Difference-in-Differences estimator and an Instrumental Variable approach). We find that besides education, female employment has a significant negative effect on fertility rates. Reducing fertility rates is considered as a prerequisite for reaching the MDGs, and our finding implies that the horticultural export boom and associated employment may indirectly contribute to this.

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