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The Work-Employment Distinction among New Mothers


  • Jacob Alex Klerman
  • Arleen Leibowitz


CPS data for 1979 to 1988 are used to examine the determinants of employment, actual work, and maternity leave for women in the year following childbirth. Women with better market skills (higher expected wages, older, more education) are more likely than other new mothers to have a job and to work. Among employed women, paid leave is also positively related to market skills. Work responds to childbirth more than employment does, with the greatest differences in the first three months following childbirth. Therefore, most women working when their child was one year old had returned to work within three months of childbirth.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacob Alex Klerman & Arleen Leibowitz, 1994. "The Work-Employment Distinction among New Mothers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(2), pages 277-303.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:29:y:1994:ii:1:p:277-303

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2004. "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
    2. Mikal Skuterud, 2008. "Perinatal Family Labour Supply: Historical Trends and the Modern Experience," Working Papers 08001, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2008.
    3. Flyer, Fredrick & Rosen, Sherwin, 1997. "The New Economics of Teachers and Education," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 104-139, January.
    4. Michael Baker & Kevin Milligan, 2008. "How Does Job-Protected Maternity Leave Affect Mothers' Employment?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(4), pages 655-691, October.
    5. repec:bla:obuest:v:79:y:2017:i:5:p:689-716 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Andres Erosa & Luisa Fuster & Diego Restuccia, 2010. "A General Equilibrium Analysis of Parental Leave Policies," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(4), pages 742-758, October.
    7. Maya Rossin-Slater, 2017. "Maternity and Family Leave Policy," NBER Working Papers 23069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Kenneth Troske & Alexandru Voicu, 2013. "The effect of the timing and spacing of births on the level of labor market involvement of married women," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 483-521, August.
    9. Melanie Arntz & Stephan Dlugosz & Ralf A. Wilke, 2017. "The Sorting of Female Careers after First Birth: A Competing Risks Analysis of Maternity Leave Duration," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 79(5), pages 689-716, October.
    10. Julie Hotchkiss & M. Pitts & Mary Walker, 2011. "Labor force exit decisions of new mothers," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 397-414, September.
    11. Arnaud Dupuy & Daniel Fernandez-Kranz, 2011. "International differences in the family gap in pay: the role of labour market institutions," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(4), pages 413-438.
    12. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2000. "Parental leave and child health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 931-960, November.
    13. Xiaoling Ang, 2015. "The Effects of Cash Transfer Fertility Incentives and Parental Leave Benefits on Fertility and Labor Supply: Evidence from Two Natural Experiments," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 263-288, June.
    14. Baum, Charles II, 2003. "The effect of state maternity leave legislation and the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act on employment and wages," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(5), pages 573-596, October.
    15. Ferreira, José Luis, 1996. "Solidaridad social y responsabilidad individual. Segunda parte: La economía de la discriminación y el II Plan de Igualdad de Oportunidades para las Mujeres," DE - Documentos de Trabajo. Economía. DE 3376, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
    16. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1998. "The Economic Consequences of Parental Leave Mandates: Lessons from Europe," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 285-317.
    17. Bidisha Mandal & Brian Roe & Sara Fein, 2014. "Work and breastfeeding decisions are jointly determined for higher socioeconomic status US mothers," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 237-257, June.
    18. Davia, María A. & Legazpe, Nuria, 2012. "Decisiones laborales de las mujeres casadas o cohabitantes en España/Employment Decisions of Married or Cohabiting Women in Spain," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 30, pages 1065(22.)-1, Diciembre.
    19. Rossin-Slater, Maya, 2017. "Maternity and Family Leave Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 10500, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Michael Baker & Kevin Milligan, 2005. "How Does Job-Protected Maternity Leave Affect Mothers' Employment and Infant Health?," NBER Working Papers 11135, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. E. Mark Curtis & Barry T. Hirsch & Mary C. Schroede, 2016. "Evaluating Workplace Mandates with Flows Versus Stocks: An Application to California Paid Family Leave," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 501-526, October.
    22. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:3143-3259 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Sarah Damaske & Adrianne Frech, 2016. "Women’s Work Pathways Across the Life Course," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(2), pages 365-391, April.
    24. Alexandra Killewald & Xiaolin Zhou, 2015. "Mothers' Long-Term Employment Patterns," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 15-247, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    25. Lisa Cullen & Theo Christopher, 2012. "Career Progression of Female Accountants in the State Public Sector," Australian Accounting Review, CPA Australia, vol. 22(1), pages 68-85, March.

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