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How much do children really cost? Maternity benefits and career opportunities of women in academia

Author

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  • Epifanio, Mariaelisa

    (University of Warwick)

  • Troeger, Vera E

    (University of Warwick)

Abstract

Motherhood and professional achievements appear as conflicting goals even for academic women. This project explores this tension by focusing on a set of provisions on parental and maternity leaves across 165 higher education institutions in the UK. Generous maternity provisions generate countervailing incentives for female academics. On the one hand, advantageous policies can foster women’s productivity in terms of research outcomes allowing them to take time out of work without income and career break concerns. On the other hand, women can exploit generous provisions without generating returnable results for the academic institution. We argue that adverse selection problems lead universities to differentiate among academic staff by offering two different types of maternity provisions (more vs less generous maternity leaves) in order to “test” women’s commitment and research ability before offering permanent contracts. Our results support this this line of argumentation. We also find that generous maternity leaves and childcare provisions positively affect the number of women at research and professorship levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Epifanio, Mariaelisa & Troeger, Vera E, 2013. "How much do children really cost? Maternity benefits and career opportunities of women in academia," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 171, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:171
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    File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/centres/cage/manage/publications/171-2013_epifanio.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Donna K. Ginther & Kathy J. Hayes, 2003. "Gender Differences in Salary and Promotion for Faculty in the Humanities 1977–95," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(1).
    5. Kahn, Shulamit, 1993. "Gender Differences in Academic Career Paths of Economists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 52-56, May.
    6. Solnick, Sara J, 2001. "Gender Differences in the Ultimatum Game," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(2), pages 189-200, April.
    7. Rob Euwals & Melanie Ward, 2005. "What matters most: teaching or research? Empirical evidence on the remuneration of British academics," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(14), pages 1655-1672.
    8. Donna K. Ginther & Shulamit Kahn, 2004. "Women in Economics: Moving Up or Falling Off the Academic Career Ladder?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(3), pages 193-214, Summer.
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    Keywords

    Maternity benefits;

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