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Early Maternal Employment and Family Wellbeing

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  • Pinka Chatterji
  • Sara Markowitz
  • Jeanne Brooks-Gunn

Abstract

This study uses longitudinal data from the NICHD Study on Early Child Care (SECC) to examine the effects of maternal employment on family well-being, measured by maternal mental and overall health, parenting stress, and parenting quality. First, we estimate the effects of maternal employment on these outcomes measured when children are 6 months old. Next, we use dynamic panel data models to examine the effects of maternal employment on family outcomes during the first 4.5 years of children’s lives. Among mothers of six month old infants, maternal work hours are positively associated with depressive symptoms and self-reported parenting stress, and negatively associated with self-rated overall health among mothers. Compared to mothers who are on leave 3 months after childbirth, mothers who are working full-time score 22 percent higher on the CES-D scale of depressive symptoms. However, maternal employment is not associated with the quality of parenting at 6 months, based on trained assessors’ observations of maternal sensitivity. Moreover, during the first 4.5 years of life as a whole, we find only weak evidence that maternal work hours are associated with maternal health, and no evidence that maternal employment is associated with parenting stress and quality. We find that unobserved heterogeneity is an important factor in modeling family outcomes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17212.

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Date of creation: Jul 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17212

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  1. Paul Gregg & Elizabeth Washbrook & Carol Propper & Simon Burgess, 2005. "The Effects of a Mother's Return to Work Decision on Child Development in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(501), pages F48-F80, 02.
  2. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2004. "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
  3. Pinka Chatterji & Sara Markowitz, 2008. "Family Leave after Childbirth and the Health of New Mothers," NBER Working Papers 14156, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2008. "Maternal employment and adolescent development," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 958-983, October.
  5. Pinka Chatterji & Sara Markowitz, 2004. "Does the Length of Maternity Leave Affect Maternal Health?," NBER Working Papers 10206, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Baker, Michael & Milligan, Kevin, 2008. "Maternal employment, breastfeeding, and health: Evidence from maternity leave mandates," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 871-887, July.
  9. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2000. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," NBER Working Papers 7831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. 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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  15. John Cawley & Feng Liu, 2007. "Maternal Employment and Childhood Obesity: A Search for Mechanisms in Time Use Data," NBER Working Papers 13600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Pinka Chatterji & Sara Markowitz & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, 2013. "Effects of early maternal employment on maternal health and well-being," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 285-301, January.
  2. Belfield, Clive R. & Kelly, Inas Rashad, 2013. "Early education and health outcomes of a 2001 U.S. Birth Cohort," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 310-325.
  3. Chris M. Herbst & Erdal Tekin, 2012. "Child Care Subsidies, Maternal Well-Being, and Child-Parent Interactions: Evidence from Three Nationally Representative Datasets," NBER Working Papers 17774, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Alexandra Kröll & Rainald Borck, 2013. "The Influence of Child Care on Maternal Health and Mother-Child Interaction," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 615, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

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