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Working with children? the probability of mothers exiting the workforce at time of birth


  • Julie L. Hotchkiss
  • M. Melinda Pitts
  • Mary Beth Walker


Recent trends in the labor force participation of women have brought much public attention to the issue of women opting out. This paper explores the decision of working women to exit the labor market at a time of major transition—the birth of a child—utilizing linked vital statistics, administrative employer, and state welfare records. The results indicate that, consistent with utility maximization theory, women are not just opting out but rather are accurately assessing the potential opportunity and direct labor market costs of their exit decisions and are making workforce exit decisions based on measurable costs and benefits.

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  • Julie L. Hotchkiss & M. Melinda Pitts & Mary Beth Walker, 2008. "Working with children? the probability of mothers exiting the workforce at time of birth," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2008-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2008-08

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Heather Boushey, 2005. "Are Women Opting Out? Debunking the Myth," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2005-36, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
    2. Katharine L. Bradbury, 2005. "Additional slack in the economy: the poor recovery in labor force participation during this business cycle," Public Policy Brief, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    3. Julie Hotchkiss & M. Melinda Pitts, 2005. "Female labour force intermittency and current earnings: switching regression model with unknown sample selection," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(5), pages 545-560.
    4. Julie L. Hotchkiss & John C. Robertson, 2006. "Asymmetric labor force participation decisions over the business cycle: evidence from U.S. microdata," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2006-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    5. Katharine Bradbury & Jane Katz, 2005. "Women's rise: a work in progress," Regional Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Q 1, pages 58-67.
    6. Julie L. Hotchkiss & M. Melinda Pitts, 2007. "The Role of Labor Market Intermittency in Explaining Gender Wage Differentials," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 417-421, May.
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    Women - Employment;

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