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The Impact of Children on Female Earnings in Britain


  • Tarja K. Viitanen


This paper examines the impact of children on female wages in the UK using the National Child Development Study. Empirically this involves using an extension of the Roy model, which simultaneously corrects for the endogeneity of labour force participation and fertility. The wage differential between women without children and women with children is estimated to range between 19% and 22% not accounting for endogeneity. This result confirms the findings of many previous studies, however, the results indicate substantial non-random selection into employment for women hence leading to biased OLS estimates. The wage differential reduces to 16%-18% instrumenting participation and fertility, however, using the estimates obtained from the double-selection model, the wage differential between mothers and childless women reduces to just 10%-13%.

Suggested Citation

  • Tarja K. Viitanen, 2004. "The Impact of Children on Female Earnings in Britain," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 415, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp415

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1998. "The Economic Consequences of Parental Leave Mandates: Lessons from Europe," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 285-317.
    7. Sprague, Alison, 1988. "Post-war Fertility and Female Labour Force Participation Rates," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(392), pages 682-700, September.
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    13. Joshi, Heather & Paci, Pierella & Waldfogel, Jane, 1999. "The Wages of Motherhood: Better or Worse?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(5), pages 543-564, September.
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    15. Stephen Cameron & Christopher Taber, 2000. "Borrowing Constraints and the Returns to Schooling," NBER Working Papers 7761, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Colm Harmon & Claire Finn & Arnaud Chevalier & Tarja Viitanen, 2006. "The economics of early childhood care and education : technical research paper for the National Economic and Social Forum," Open Access publications 10197/671, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    2. Zhang, Xuelin, 2008. "Emploi des meres canadiennes apres la naissance d'un enfant et trajectoires des gains de leurs homologues occupees de facon continue, 1983 a 2004," Direction des etudes analytiques : documents de recherche 2008314f, Statistics Canada, Direction des etudes analytiques.
    3. 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.
    4. Bertrand, Olivier & Hakkala, Katariina & Norb├Ąck, Pehr-Johan, 2007. "Cross-Border Acquisition or Greenfield Entry: Does it Matter for Affiliate R&D?," Working Paper Series 693, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    5. Statistics Canada, 2008. "The Post-childbirth Employment of Canadian Mothers and the Earnings Trajectories of Their Continuously Employed Counterparts, 1983 to 2004," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2008314e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    6. Nizalova, Olena Y. & Sliusarenko, Tamara, 2013. "Motherhood Wage Penalty in Times of Transition," IZA Discussion Papers 7810, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    Female labour supply; Fertility; Wage differentials;

    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

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