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What Does the Stork Bring to Women’s Working Career?

  • Lia Pacelli
  • Silvia Pasqua
  • Claudia Villosio

We analyse the effects of motherhood on women’s working career using WHIP, a database that records individual work histories together with childbearing events. We investigate two main issues: the career penalty and the wage penalty (better known in the literature as family wage gap). We focus on a group of women (i) highly attached to the labour market before maternity, and (ii) that have only one child. Hence, we search for penalties among those who are less likely to experience them, providing a lower bound of the average penalty in the whole population. With respect to the former penalty, we focus on selection of women out of employment after childbirth and we find a significant increase in the probability of transition from employment to non-employment for new mothers. Moreover part time mothers are less likely to exit, pointing to part time as a family-friendly contract. With respect to wages, we restrict the analysis to continuously working women and analyse their wage profiles following a difference in differences approach. We find that conditional average wage of future mothers is significantly higher than that of non mothers before childbearing and it becomes significantly lower afterward, showing no sign of a closing gap after 4 years.

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Paper provided by LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies in its series LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series with number 58.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cca:wplabo:58
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