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The Mommy Track Divides: The Impact of Childbearing on Wages of Women of Differing Skill Levels

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  • Elizabeth Ty Wilde
  • Lily Batchelder
  • David T. Ellwood

Abstract

This paper explores how the wage and career consequences of motherhood differ by skill and timing. Past work has often found smaller or even negligible effects from childbearing for high-skill women, but we find the opposite. Wage trajectories diverge sharply for high scoring women after, but not before, they have children, while there is little change for low-skill women. It appears that the lifetime costs of childbearing, especially early childbearing, are particularly high for skilled women. These differential costs of childbearing may account for the far greater tendency of high-skill women to delay or avoid childbearing altogether.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16582.

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Date of creation: Dec 2010
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16582

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  1. David Kalist, 2008. "Does Motherhood Affect Productivity, Relative Performance, and Earnings?," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, Springer, vol. 29(3), pages 219-235, September.
  2. Deborah J. Anderson & Melissa Binder & Kate Krause, 2003. "The motherhood wage penalty revisited: experience, heterogeneity, work effort, and work-schedule flexibility," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(2), pages 273-294, January.
  3. Deborah J. Anderson & Melissa Binder & Kate Krause, 2002. "The Motherhood Wage Penalty: Which Mothers Pay It and Why?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 354-358, May.
  4. Amalia Miller, 2011. "The effects of motherhood timing on career path," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 1071-1100, July.
  5. David S. Loughran & Julie M. Zissimopoulos, 2009. "Why Wait?: The Effect of Marriage and Childbearing on the Wages of Men and Women," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(2).
  6. Jason M. Fletcher & Barbara L. Wolfe, 2009. "Education and Labor Market Consequences of Teenage Childbearing: Evidence Using the Timing of Pregnancy Outcomes and Community Fixed Effects," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(2).
  7. Martha J Bailey, 2006. "More Power to the Pill: The Impact of Contraceptive Freedom on Women's Life Cycle Labor Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 121(1), pages 289-320, 02.
  8. Sanders Korenman & David Neumark, 1992. "Marriage, Motherhood, and Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(2), pages 233-255.
  9. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Jean Kimmel, 2005. "“The Motherhood Wage Gap for Women in the United States: The Importance of College and Fertility Delay”," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 17-48, 09.
  10. Kasey Buckles, 2008. "Understanding the Returns to Delayed Childbearing for Working Women," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 403-07, May.
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