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Nobody Home: The Effect of Maternal Labor Force Participation on Long-Term Child Outcomes

  • Venke Furre Haaland
  • Mari Rege
  • Mark Votruba

We investigate how mother’s employment during childhood affects long term child outcomes. We utilize rich longitudinal data from Norway covering the entire Norwegian population between the years 1970 to 2007. The data allows us to match all family members and to measure maternal labor force participation throughout the child’s entire childhood. Our empirical approach exploits the variation in exposure to a working mother that exists across older and younger siblings in different family types. We compare sibling differences in families where the mother enters the labor force when the children are older and where the mother remains employed full time thereafter, to sibling differences in families where the mother remains out of the labor force during the entirety of her children’s adolescent years. Our identification strategy is, therefore, in the spirit of traditional difference-in-differences, the first difference pertaining to the differences in children’s ages within a family and the second pertaining to different family types. The analysis suggests that maternal labor force participation has significant and negative effects on years of education and labor market outcomes. However, the effects are small, which supports the notion that maternal labor force participation has, on average, a small effect on long-term outcomes for children.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2013/wp-cesifo-2013-11/cesifo1_wp4495.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4495.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4495
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  1. Charles L. Baum II, 2003. "Does Early Maternal Employment Harm Child Development? An Analysis of the Potential Benefits of Leave Taking," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 381-408, April.
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  16. Jane Waldfogel & Wen-Jui Han & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, 2002. "The effects of early maternal employment on child cognitive development," Demography, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 369-392, May.
  17. Laura Veldkamp & Alessandra Fogli, 2009. "Nature or Nurture? Learning and the Geography of Female Labor Force Participation," 2009 Meeting Papers 141, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  18. Mari Rege & Kjetil Telle & Mark Votruba, 2011. "Parental Job Loss and Children's School Performance," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(4), pages 1462-1489.
  19. Eric Bettinger & Torbjørn Hægeland & Mari Rege, 2013. "Home with Mom: The effects of stay-at-home parents on children’s long-run educational outcomes," Discussion Papers 739, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
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