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Why Wait?: The Effect of Marriage and Childbearing on the Wages of Men and Women

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  • David S. Loughran
  • Julie M. Zissimopoulos

Abstract

We use data from the earlier and later cohorts of the NLSY to estimate the effect of marriage and childbearing on wages. Our estimates imply that marriage lowers female wages 2–4 percent in the year of marriage. Marriage also lowers the wage growth of men and women by about two and four percentage points, respectively. A first birth lowers female wages 2–3 percent, but has no effect on wage growth. Male wages are unaffected by childbearing. These findings suggest that early marriage and childbearing can lead to substantial decreases in lifetime earnings.

Suggested Citation

  • David S. Loughran & Julie M. Zissimopoulos, 2009. "Why Wait?: The Effect of Marriage and Childbearing on the Wages of Men and Women," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(2).
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:44:y:2009:i2:p326-349
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Deborah J. Anderson & Melissa Binder & Kate Krause, 2002. "The Motherhood Wage Penalty: Which Mothers Pay It and Why?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 354-358, May.
    2. David S. Loughran, 2002. "The Effect Of Male Wage Inequality On Female Age At First Marriage," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 237-250, May.
    3. Elizabeth Ty Wilde & Lily Batchelder & David T. Ellwood, 2010. "The Mommy Track Divides: The Impact of Childbearing on Wages of Women of Differing Skill Levels," NBER Working Papers 16582, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Gould, Eric D. & Paserman, M. Daniele, 2003. "Waiting for Mr. Right: rising inequality and declining marriage rates," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 257-281, March.
    5. Robert H. Topel & Michael P. Ward, 1992. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 439-479.
    6. Bronars, Stephen G & Grogger, Jeff, 1994. "The Economic Consequences of Unwed Motherhood: Using Twin Births as a Natural Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1141-1156, December.
    7. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2000. "Power Couples: Changes in the Locational Choice of the College Educated, 1940–1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1287-1315.
    8. Jeffrey S. Gray, 1997. "The Fall in Men's Return to Marriage: Declining Productivity Effects or Changing Selection?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 481-504.
    9. George A. Akerlof & Janet L. Yellen & Michael L. Katz, 1996. "An Analysis of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 277-317.
    10. Harry A. Krashinsky, 2004. "Do Marital Status and Computer Usage Really Change the Wage Structure?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
    11. Arline T. Geronimus & Sanders Korenman, 1992. "The Socioeconomic Consequences of Teen Childbearing Reconsidered," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1187-1214.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Andriana Bellou, 2015. "The impact of Internet diffusion on marriage rates: evidence from the broadband market," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(2), pages 265-297, April.
    2. Elizabeth Ty Wilde & Lily Batchelder & David T. Ellwood, 2010. "The Mommy Track Divides: The Impact of Childbearing on Wages of Women of Differing Skill Levels," NBER Working Papers 16582, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Adam Isen & Betsey Stevenson, 2010. "Women's Education and Family Behavior: Trends in Marriage, Divorce and Fertility," NBER Chapters,in: Demography and the Economy, pages 107-140 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Chabé-Ferret, Bastien, 2016. "Adherence to Cultural Norms and Economic Incentives: Evidence from Fertility Timing Decisions," IZA Discussion Papers 10269, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Julie Zissimopoulos & Benjamin Karney & Amy Rauer, 2008. "Marital Histories and Economic Well-Being," Working Papers wp180, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    6. Troske, Kenneth R. & Voicu, Alexandru, 2010. "Joint estimation of sequential labor force participation and fertility decisions using Markov chain Monte Carlo techniques," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 150-169, January.
    7. Martin Dribe & Paul Nystedt, 2013. "Educational Homogamy and Gender-Specific Earnings: Sweden, 1990–2009," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(4), pages 1197-1216, August.
    8. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0566-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Dolan, Paul & Rudisill, Caroline, 2015. "Babies in waiting: Why increasing the IVF age cut-off might lead to fewer wanted pregnancies in the presence of procrastination," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 119(2), pages 174-179.
    10. Geiler, Philipp & Renneboog, Luc, 2015. "Are female top managers really paid less?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 345-369.
    11. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:28:y:2018:i:c:p:38-52 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Jennifer March Augustine & Kate C. Prickett & Sarah M. Kendig & Robert Crosnoe, 2015. "Maternal Education and the Link Between Birth Timing and Children's School Readiness," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 96(4), pages 970-984, December.
    13. Cornaglia, Francesca & Feldman, Naomi E., 2011. "Productivity, Wages, and Marriage: The Case of Major League Baseball," IZA Discussion Papers 5695, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Nizalova, Olena Y. & Sliusarenko, Tamara & Shpak, Solomiya, 2016. "The motherhood wage penalty in times of transition," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 56-75.
    15. repec:dem:demres:v:37:y:2017:i:13 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Martin Dribe & Jan Van Bavel & Cameron Campbell, 2012. "Social mobility and demographic behaviour: Long term perspectives," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 26(8), pages 173-190, March.
    17. Bonilla, Roberto & Kiraly, Francis, 2013. "Marriage wage premium in a search equilibrium," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 107-115.
    18. Amalia Miller, 2011. "The effects of motherhood timing on career path," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(3), pages 1071-1100, July.
    19. Chunbei Wang & Le Wang, 0. "Knot yet: minimum marriage age law, marriage delay, and earnings," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 0, pages 1-34.

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