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Work Patterns following a Birth in Urban and Rural China: A Longitudinal Study


Entwisle, Barbara & Chen, Feinian (2002). Work Patterns following a Birth in Urban and Rural China: A Longitudinal Study. European Journal of Population, 18(2), 99-119.


Two waves of data (1989 and 1991) from theChina Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS) areused to investigate the short-term impact of abirth on women's work patterns. Defining workbroadly in terms of involvement inincome-earning activities in general, birthshave little impact. Defining work in terms ofwage employment, births have a significantalthough modest negative effect. Substituting amore fully elaborated typology of work patternsthat distinguishes different combinations ofwage work, work in household businesses, andagricultural fieldwork makes it possible tolook at shifts within as well as betweencategories of wage and non-wage employment.These shifts turn out to be important,especially in rural areas where such workpredominates. In this study, the effect of abirth depends on how work is conceptualized andmeasured. Some of the contextual variability inthe strength of the fertility-work relationshipreported in the literature may be due to theparticular measures of work that have beenused, which better reflect the time demands,intensity, flexibility, and location of work inurban industrialized settings than in rural,less industrialized ones.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

European Journal of Population


Entwisle, Barbara
Chen, Feinian