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Early Maternal Employment and Family Wellbeing

Author

Listed:
  • Pinka Chatterji
  • Sara Markowitz
  • Jeanne Brooks-Gunn

Abstract

This study uses longitudinal data from the NICHD Study on Early Child Care (SECC) to examine the effects of maternal employment on family well-being, measured by maternal mental and overall health, parenting stress, and parenting quality. First, we estimate the effects of maternal employment on these outcomes measured when children are 6 months old. Next, we use dynamic panel data models to examine the effects of maternal employment on family outcomes during the first 4.5 years of children's lives. Among mothers of six month old infants, maternal work hours are positively associated with depressive symptoms and self-reported parenting stress, and negatively associated with self-rated overall health among mothers. Compared to mothers who are on leave 3 months after childbirth, mothers who are working full-time score 22 percent higher on the CES-D scale of depressive symptoms. However, maternal employment is not associated with the quality of parenting at 6 months, based on trained assessors' observations of maternal sensitivity. Moreover, during the first 4.5 years of life as a whole, we find only weak evidence that maternal work hours are associated with maternal health, and no evidence that maternal employment is associated with parenting stress and quality. We find that unobserved heterogeneity is an important factor in modeling family outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Pinka Chatterji & Sara Markowitz & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, 2011. "Early Maternal Employment and Family Wellbeing," NBER Working Papers 17212, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17212
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
    2. Cawley, John & Liu, Feng, 2012. "Maternal employment and childhood obesity: A search for mechanisms in time use data," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 352-364.
    3. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2008. "Universal Child Care, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 709-745, August.
    4. Paul Contoyannis & Andrew M. Jones & Nigel Rice, 2004. "The dynamics of health in the British Household Panel Survey," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4), pages 473-503.
    5. Charles L. Baum II, 2003. "Does Early Maternal Employment Harm Child Development? An Analysis of the Potential Benefits of Leave Taking," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 381-408, April.
    6. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2008. "Maternal employment and adolescent development," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 958-983, October.
    7. Pinka Chatterji & Sara Markowitz, 2005. "Does the Length of Maternity Leave Affect Maternal Health?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 16-41, July.
    8. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2004. "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
    9. Cameron,A. Colin & Trivedi,Pravin K., 2008. "Microeconometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9787111235767, March.
    10. Baker, Michael & Milligan, Kevin, 2008. "Maternal employment, breastfeeding, and health: Evidence from maternity leave mandates," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 871-887, July.
    11. Berger, Lawrence & Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne & Paxson, Christina & Waldfogel, Jane, 2008. "First-year maternal employment and child outcomes: Differences across racial and ethnic groups," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 365-387, April.
    12. Susanne James-Burdumy, 2005. "The Effect of Maternal Labor Force Participation on Child Development," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 177-211, January.
    13. Pinka Chatterji & Sara Markowitz, 2008. "Family Leave after Childbirth and the Health of New Mothers," NBER Working Papers 14156, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Paul Gregg & Elizabeth Washbrook & Carol Propper & Simon Burgess, 2005. "The Effects of a Mother's Return to Work Decision on Child Development in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(501), pages 48-80, February.
    15. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
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    Cited by:

    1. Chris Herbst & Erdal Tekin, 2012. "Child Care Subsidies, Maternal Well-Being, and Child-Parent Interactions: Evidence from Three Nationally Representative Datasets," Working Papers 1372, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    2. Pinka Chatterji & Sara Markowitz & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, 2013. "Effects of early maternal employment on maternal health and well-being," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(1), pages 285-301, January.
    3. repec:pri:crcwel:wp12-01-ff is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Thérèse McDonnell, 2016. "Non-cognitive development in infancy: the influence of maternal employment and the mediating role of childcare," Working Papers 201606, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    5. Belfield, Clive R. & Kelly, Inas Rashad, 2013. "Early education and health outcomes of a 2001 U.S. Birth Cohort," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 310-325.
    6. repec:pri:crcwel:wp11-20-ff is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Alexandra Kröll & Rainald Borck, 2013. "The Influence of Child Care on Maternal Health and Mother-Child Interaction," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 615, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

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    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health

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