Women represent the majority of informal sector workers in developing countries. This is especially true in Sub-Saharan Africa where early childbearing rates are still high. However, to date, there is little empirical evidence on the role of early fertility in female labor force participation in the informal sector. We analyze the effect of young women’s timing of first birth on her entry into the labor market and selection into different types of employment. Using a panel survey in Madagascar, designed to capture the transition from adolescence to adulthood, and a multinomial approach, we estimate the effect of early childbearing on selection into four employment categories: non-participation, informal, formal, and student. Our results suggest that young mothers are more likely to work than young women without children. However, women whose first birth occurred during adolescence largely select into low-quality informal jobs. This effect is partially, but not entirely, mediated by the effect of adolescent pregnancy on schooling.


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