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To work or not to work: the economics of a mother's dilemma

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

Abstract

Utilizing linked vital statistics, administrative employer, and state welfare records, the analysis in this paper investigates the determinants of a woman's intermittent labor force decision at the time of a major life event: the birth of a child. The results indicate that both direct and opportunity labor market costs of exiting the workforce figure significantly into that decision. Further, the analysis reveals the importance of including information about the mother's prebirth job when making inferences about the role various demographics play in the intermittent labor force decision.

Suggested Citation

  • Hotchkiss, Julie L. & Pitts, M. Melinda & Walker, Mary Beth, 2011. "To work or not to work: the economics of a mother's dilemma," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2011-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2011-02
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    File URL: http://www.frbatlanta.org/documents/pubs/wp/wp1102.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ondrich, Jan & Spiess, C Katharina & Yang, Qing, 1996. "Barefoot and in a German Kitchen: Federal Parental Leave and Benefit Policy and the Return to Work after Childbirth in Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 9(3), pages 247-266, August.
    2. Susan L. Averett & Leslie A. Whittington, 2001. "Does Maternity Leave Induce Births?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 403-417, October.
    3. Julie L. Hotchkiss & M. Melinda Pitts, 2003. "Female labor force intermittency and current earnings: a switching regression model with unknown sample selection," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2003-33, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    4. Siv S. Gustafsson & Shirley Dex & Cécile M. M. P. Wetzels & Jan Dirk Vlasblom, 1996. "Women`s labor force transitions in connection with childbirth: A panel data comparison between Germany, Sweden and Great Britain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 9(3), pages 223-246.
    5. Julie L. Hotchkiss & M. Melinda Pitts & Mary Beth Walker, 2010. "Assessing the impact of education and marriage on labor market exit decisions of women," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2010-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    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. Burgess, Simon & Gregg, Paul & Propper, Carol & Washbrook, Elizabeth, 2008. "Maternity rights and mothers' return to work," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 168-201, April.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. Chiara Pronzato, 2009. "Return to work after childbirth: does parental leave matter in Europe?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 341-360, December.
    11. 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.
    12. Elina Pylkkänen & Nina Smith, 2003. "Career Interruptions Due to Parental Leave: A Comparative Study of Denmark and Sweden," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 1, OECD Publishing.
    13. Yoshio Higuchi & Jane Waldfogel & Masahiro Abe, 1999. "Family leave policies and women's retention after childbirth: Evidence from the United States, Britain, and Japan," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 12(4), pages 523-545.
    14. Eiko Kenjoh, 2005. "New Mothers' Employment and Public Policy in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Japan," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 19(s1), pages 5-49, December.
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