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The Effect of Motherhood on Wages and Wage Growth: Evidence for Australia

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  • TANYA LIVERMORE
  • JOAN RODGERS
  • PETER SIMINSKI

Abstract

Labour market theory provides several reasons why mothers are likely to earn lower hourly wages than non-mothers. However, the size of any motherhood penalty is an empirical matter and the evidence for Australia is limited. This paper examines the effect of motherhood on Australian women’s wages and wage growth using a series of panel-data models which control for other relevant factors, both observed and unobserved. Using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, an unexplained motherhood wage penalty of around four per cent for one child, and eight per cent for two or more children, is found. Further analysis suggests that the wage penalty emerges over time through reduced wage growth, rather than through an immediate wage decline after the birth of a child. This reduction in wage growth is consistent with discrimination but also with a reduction in mothers’ work effort.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1475-4932.2011.00745.x
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by The Economic Society of Australia in its journal The Economic Record.

Volume (Year): 87 (2011)
Issue (Month): s1 (09)
Pages: 80-91

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ecorec:v:87:y:2011:i:s1:p:80-91

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  1. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Jean Kimmel, 2004. "The Motherhood Wage Gap for Women in the United States: The Importance of College and Fertility Delay," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2004/07, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
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