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Nobody Home: The Effect of Maternal Labor Force Participation on Long-Term Child Outcomes

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  • Venke Furre Haaland
  • Mari Rege
  • Mark Votruba
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    Abstract

    We investigate how mother’s employment during childhood affects long term child outcomes. We utilize rich longitudinal data from Norway covering the entire Norwegian population between the years 1970 to 2007. The data allows us to match all family members and to measure maternal labor force participation throughout the child’s entire childhood. Our empirical approach exploits the variation in exposure to a working mother that exists across older and younger siblings in different family types. We compare sibling differences in families where the mother enters the labor force when the children are older and where the mother remains employed full time thereafter, to sibling differences in families where the mother remains out of the labor force during the entirety of her children’s adolescent years. Our identification strategy is, therefore, in the spirit of traditional difference-in-differences, the first difference pertaining to the differences in children’s ages within a family and the second pertaining to different family types. The analysis suggests that maternal labor force participation has significant and negative effects on years of education and labor market outcomes. However, the effects are small, which supports the notion that maternal labor force participation has, on average, a small effect on long-term outcomes for children.

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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2013/wp-cesifo-2013-11/cesifo1_wp4495.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4495.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4495

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    Keywords: child development; household production; maternal labor force participation;

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    References

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    1. Alessandra Fogli & Raquel Fernandez, 2005. "Culture: An Empirical Investigation of Beliefs, Work, and Fertility," Working Papers 05-07, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    2. Dahl, Gordon B. & Lochner, Lance, 2012. "The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit," IZA Discussion Papers 6613, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    18. Tarjei Havnes & Magne Mogstad, 2011. "No Child Left Behind: Subsidized Child Care and Children's Long-Run Outcomes," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 97-129, May.
    19. Charles L. Baum II, 2003. "Does Early Maternal Employment Harm Child Development? An Analysis of the Potential Benefits of Leave Taking," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 381-408, April.
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