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Getting a job: Is there a motherhood penalty?

Author

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  • Stephen Benard
  • Shelley Correll
  • In Paik

Abstract

Survey research finds that mothers suffer a substantial wage penalty, although the causal mechanism producing it remains elusive. The authors employed a laboratory experiment to evaluate the hypothesis that status-based discrimination plays an important role and an audit study of actual employers to assess its real-world implications. In both studies, participants evaluated application materials for a pair of same-gender equally qualified job candidates who differed on parental status. The laboratory experiment found that mothers were penalized on a host of measures, including perceived competence and recommended starting salary. Men were not penalized for, and sometimes benefited from, being a parent. The audit study showed that actual employers discriminate against mothers, but not against fathers.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Benard & Shelley Correll & In Paik, 2007. "Getting a job: Is there a motherhood penalty?," Natural Field Experiments 00227, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00227
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Devah Pager, 2003. "The mark of a criminal record," Natural Field Experiments 00319, The Field Experiments Website.
    2. Eng Seng Loh, 1996. "Productivity Differences and the Marriage Wage Premium for White Males," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(3), pages 566-589.
    3. Becker, Gary S, 1985. "Human Capital, Effort, and the Sexual Division of Labor," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 33-58, January.
    4. Oettinger, Gerald S, 1996. "Statistical Discrimination and the Early Career Evolution of the Black-White Wage Gap," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(1), pages 52-78, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kamp Dush, Claire M. & Schmeer, Kammi K. & Taylor, Miles, 2013. "Chaos as a social determinant of child health: Reciprocal associations?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 69-76.
    2. Finseraas, Henning & Johnsen, Åshild A. & Kotsadam, Andreas & Torsvik, Gaute, 2016. "Exposure to female colleagues breaks the glass ceiling—Evidence from a combined vignette and field experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 363-374.
    3. Ramaswami, Aarti & Huang, Jia-Chi & Dreher, George F., 2014. "Mentoring across cultures: The role of gender and marital status in Taiwan and the U.S," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 67(12), pages 2542-2549.
    4. Timmermans, Stefan & Almeling, Rene, 2009. "Objectification, standardization, and commodification in health care: A conceptual readjustment," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 21-27, July.
    5. Hook, Jennifer L. & Courtney, Mark E., 2011. "Employment outcomes of former foster youth as young adults: The importance of human, personal, and social capital," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1855-1865, October.
    6. Den Dulk, Laura & Groeneveld, Sandra & Ollier-Malaterre, Ariane & Valcour, Monique, 2013. "National context in work-life research: A multi-level cross-national analysis of the adoption of workplace work-life arrangements in Europe," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 478-494.
    7. Cadsby, C. Bram & Servátka, Maroš & Song, Fei, 2013. "How competitive are female professionals? A tale of identity conflict," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 284-303.
    8. repec:spr:jlabrs:v:50:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s12651-017-0225-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Baert, Stijn, 2017. "Hiring Discrimination: An Overview of (Almost) All Correspondence Experiments Since 2005," IZA Discussion Papers 10738, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. repec:gam:jscscx:v:7:y:2018:i:3:p:32-:d:133897 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Paradis, Catherine, 2011. "Parenthood, drinking locations and heavy drinking," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(8), pages 1258-1265, April.
    12. Fallesen, Peter, 2016. "Downward spiral: The impact of out-of-home placement on paternal welfare dependency," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 45-55.

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