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Is there an Advantage to Working? The Relationship between Maternal Employment and Intergenerational Mobility

Author

Listed:
  • Martha H. Stinson
  • Peter Gottschalk

Abstract

We investigate the question of whether investing in a child’s development by having a parent stay at home when the child is young is correlated with the child’s adult outcomes. Specifically, do children with stay-at-home mothers have higher adult earnings than children raised in households with a working mother? The major contribution of our study is that, unlike previous studies, we have access to rich longitudinal data that allows us to measure both the parental earnings when the child is very young and the adult earnings of the child. Our findings are consistent with previous studies that show insignificant differences between children raised by stay-at-home mothers during their early years and children with mothers working in the market. We find no impact of maternal employment during the first 5 years of a child’s life on earnings, employment, or mobility measures of either sons or daughters. We do find, however, that maternal employment during children’s high school years is correlated with a higher probability of employment as adults for daughters and a higher correlation between parent and daughter earnings ranks.

Suggested Citation

  • Martha H. Stinson & Peter Gottschalk, 2015. "Is there an Advantage to Working? The Relationship between Maternal Employment and Intergenerational Mobility," Working Papers 15-27, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:15-27
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    File URL: https://www2.census.gov/ces/wp/2015/CES-WP-15-27.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    human capital; child development; female labor supply;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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