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First-Year Maternal Employment and Child Outcomes: Differences Across Racial and Ethnic Groups

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  • Lawrence M. Berger

    (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

  • Jeanne Brooks-Gunn

    (Columbia University)

  • Christina Paxson

    (Princeton University)

  • Jane Waldfogel

    (Columbia University)

Abstract

We use data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine associations between first-year maternal employment and child outcomes for 3-year-old white, Black, and Hispanic children. We find that first-year maternal employment is associated with lower vocabulary scores for white, but not Black or Hispanic, children and with elevated levels of aggressive behavior problems for Hispanic, but not white or Black, children. Factors such as the timing and intensity of employment, family structure, and maternal education sometimes moderate these associations, but do not explain differences across racial and ethnic groups. Child care and parenting behaviors do not appear to mediate associations between first-year maternal employment and children’s outcomes and cannot explain racial and ethnic differences in these associations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing. in its series Working Papers with number 911.

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Date of creation: Jan 2007
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Handle: RePEc:pri:crcwel:bbpw_abstract

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  1. 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.
  2. Sonalde Desai & P. Chase-Lansdale & Robert Michael, 1989. "Mother or Market? Effects of Maternal Employment on the Intellectual Ability of 4-Year-Old Children," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 545-561, November.
  3. Susanna Loeb & Margaret Bridges & Bruce Fuller & Russ Rumberger & Daphna Bassok, 2005. "How Much is Too Much? The Influence of Preschool Centers on Children's Social and Cognitive Development," NBER Working Papers 11812, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Matthew J. Neidell, 2000. "Early Parental Time Investments In Children's Human Capital Development: Effects Of Time In The First Year On Cognitive And Non-Cognitive Outcomes," UCLA Economics Working Papers, UCLA Department of Economics 806, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Blau, Francine D & Grossberg, Adam J, 1992. "Maternal Labor Supply and Children's Cognitive Development," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(3), pages 474-81, August.
  6. Jane Waldfogel & Wen-Jui Han & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, 2002. "The effects of early maternal employment on child cognitive development," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 369-392, May.
  7. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2004. "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
  8. Helen Raikes & Gayle Luze & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn & H. Abigail Raikes & Barbara Alexander Pan & Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda & Jill Constantine & Louisa Banks Tarullo & Eileen T. Rodriguez, 2006. "Mother-Child Bookreading in Low-Income Families: Correlates and Outcomes During the First Three Years of Life," Mathematica Policy Research Reports, Mathematica Policy Research 5039, Mathematica Policy Research.
  9. Susanne James-Burdumy, 2005. "The Effect of Maternal Labor Force Participation on Child Development," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 177-211, January.
  10. 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, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 381-408, April.
  11. Reichman, Nancy E. & Teitler, Julien O. & Garfinkel, Irwin & McLanahan, Sara S., 2001. "Fragile Families: sample and design," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 23(4-5), pages 303-326.
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Cited by:
  1. MacKenzie, Michael J. & Nicklas, Eric & Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne & Waldfogel, Jane, 2011. "Who spanks infants and toddlers? Evidence from the fragile families and child well-being study," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1364-1373, August.
  2. Pinka Chatterji & Sara Markowitz & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, 2011. "Early Maternal Employment and Family Wellbeing," NBER Working Papers 17212, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Gonzalez, Libertad & Viitanen, Tarja, 2008. "The Long Term Effects of Legalizing Divorce on Children," IZA Discussion Papers 3789, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Zhai, Fuhua & Waldfogel, Jane & Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne, 2013. "Estimating the effects of Head Start on parenting and child maltreatment," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 35(7), pages 1119-1129.
  5. Audrey Beck & Carlos González-Sancho, 2009. "Educational Assortative Mating and Children’s School Readiness," Working Papers, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing. 1142, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
  6. Joanne W. Golann, 2011. "First-Year Maternal School Attendance and Children’s Cognitive Abilities at Age 5," Working Papers, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing. 1315, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..

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