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First-year maternal employment and child outcomes: Differences across racial and ethnic groups

  • Berger, Lawrence
  • Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne
  • Paxson, Christina
  • Waldfogel, Jane

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 (N = 1483). Results from OLS regressions and propensity score matching models indicate that first-year maternal employment is associated with lower vocabulary scores for White, but not Black or Hispanic, children and with elevated levels of behavior problems for Hispanic, but not White or Black, children. Factors such as type of child care, maternal depressive symptoms and stress, and parenting behaviors (including measures of discipline, nurturance, and provision of cognitively stimulating materials) do not mediate these associations between first-year maternal employment and children's outcomes or explain the differential associations across racial and ethnic groups, suggesting the need to look at other explanations for these associations, as well as the need for better measurement of parenting, especially mother-child interaction.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V98-4PX79X3-1/1/ddaf24db001423b0591b0b958cc768a8
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Children and Youth Services Review.

Volume (Year): 30 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
Pages: 365-387

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Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:30:y:2008:i:4:p:365-387
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/childyouth

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  1. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," NBER Working Papers 7666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. repec:mpr:mprres:5039 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. 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 806, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. Susanne James-Burdumy, 2005. "The Effect of Maternal Labor Force Participation on Child Development," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 177-211, January.
  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. 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, vol. 26(4), pages 545-561, November.
  7. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
  8. Reichman, Nancy E. & Teitler, Julien O. & Garfinkel, Irwin & McLanahan, Sara S., 2001. "Fragile Families: sample and design," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4-5), pages 303-326.
  9. 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.
  10. Jane Waldfogel & Wen-Jui Han & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, 2002. "The effects of early maternal employment on child cognitive development," Demography, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 369-392, May.
  11. 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.
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