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The role of parenthood on the gender gap among top earners

Author

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  • Bütikofer, Aline
  • Jensen, Sissel
  • Salvanes, Kjell G.

Abstract

Is the wage penalty due to motherhood larger among highly qualified women? In this paper, we study the effect of parenthood on the careers of high-achieving women relative to high-achieving men in a set of high-earning professions with either nonlinear or linear wage structures. Using Norwegian registry data, we find that the child earnings penalty for mothers in professions with a nonlinear wage structure, MBAs and lawyers, is substantially larger than for mothers in professions with a linear wage structure. The gender earnings gap for MBA and law graduates is around 30%, but substantially less for STEM and medicine graduates, 10 years after childbirth. In addition, we provide some descriptive statistics on the role of fertility timing on the child earnings penalty.

Suggested Citation

  • Bütikofer, Aline & Jensen, Sissel & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2018. "The role of parenthood on the gender gap among top earners," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 103-123.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:109:y:2018:i:c:p:103-123
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2018.05.008
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Top earners; Gender differences; Child penalty;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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