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Parenthood, Family Friendly Workplaces, and the Gender Gaps in Early Work Careers

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  • V. Joseph Hotz
  • Per Johansson
  • Arizo Karimi

Abstract

We consider the role that workplace attributes play in accounting for the divergence in the careers of women and men, with the onset of parenthood. We exploit matched employer-employee data from Sweden to characterize a model-based index of workplace “family friendliness” and analyze the effect of more family friendly workplaces on the career gaps between mothers and fathers. We find that exogenously moving mothers to more family friendly workplaces would raise their wages and labor income. In contrast, such moves would entail reductions in the same outcomes for fathers, resulting in sizeable improvements in the parental gender gap in wages and income. At the same time, working in more family friendly workplaces would not reduce the penalty to wage rates earned by women with their transition to motherhood (i.e., the motherhood penalty), but it would reduce the motherhood penalty to earned income by facilitating mothers working more hours. Furthermore, the benefits of family friendly workplaces appear to come at the expense of the occupational skill progression of mothers relative to non-mothers, impeding mothers’ ability to climb career ladders over the longer run. Finally, using auxiliary data based on a survey, we find that jobs – as defined by our index – are more substitutable for one another in family friendly workplaces. This substitutability of workers in more family friendly workplaces appears to be the mechanism that facilitates mothers’ ability to balance work and family responsibilities in such workplaces. At the same time, it also may partially explain our finding that more family friendly workplaces slow mothers’ occupational skill-progression.

Suggested Citation

  • V. Joseph Hotz & Per Johansson & Arizo Karimi, 2017. "Parenthood, Family Friendly Workplaces, and the Gender Gaps in Early Work Careers," NBER Working Papers 24173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24173
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    Cited by:

    1. Mari, Gabriele, 2020. "Working-time flexibility is (not the same) for all: Evidence from a right-to-request reform," SocArXiv bnp9r, Center for Open Science.
    2. Bütikofer, Aline & Jensen, Sissel & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2018. "The role of parenthood on the gender gap among top earners," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 103-123.
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    4. Todd Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner & Paul Sullivan, 2018. "Job Tasks and the Gender Wage Gap among College Graduates," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20183, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
    5. John T. Addison & Liwen Chen & Orgul D. Ozturk, 2020. "Occupational Skill Mismatch: Differences by Gender and Cohort," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 73(3), pages 730-767, May.
    6. Ginja, Rita & Karimi, Arizo & Xiao, Pengpeng, 2020. "Employer Responses to Family Leave Programs," IZA Discussion Papers 13833, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Boelmann, Barbara & Raute, Anna & Schönberg, Uta, 2020. "Wind of Change? Cultural Determinants of Maternal Labor Supply," IAB Discussion Paper 202030, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    8. Bana, Sarah & Bedard, Kelly & Rossin-Slater, Maya & Stearns, Jenna, 2018. "Unequal Use of Social Insurance Benefits: The Role of Employers," IZA Discussion Papers 11882, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Abrar Reshid, Abdulaziz, 2017. "The gender gap in early career wage growth: the role of Children, job mobility and occupational mobility," Working Paper Series 2017:5, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    10. Azmat, Ghazala & Boring, Anne, 2020. "Gender Diversity in Firms," IZA Policy Papers 168, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Katrin Huber, 2019. "The role of the career costs of children for the effect of public child care on fertility and maternal employment," Working Papers 185, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
    12. Huber, Katrin, 2019. "The role of the career costs of children for the effect of public child care on fertility and maternal employment," Passauer Diskussionspapiere, Volkswirtschaftliche Reihe V-77-19, University of Passau, Faculty of Business and Economics.
    13. Albrecht, James & Bronson, Mary Ann & Thoursie, Peter Skogman & Vroman, Susan, 2018. "The career dynamics of high-skilled women and men: Evidence from Sweden," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 83-102.
    14. Nicole M. Fortin, 2019. "Increasing earnings inequality and the gender pay gap in Canada: Prospects for convergence," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 52(2), pages 407-440, May.
    15. Sylvie Démurger & Eric A. Hanushek & Lei Zhang, 2019. "Employer Learning and the Dynamics of Returns to Universities: Evidence from Chinese Elite Education during University Expansion," NBER Working Papers 25955, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    17. Barbara Boelmann & Anna Raute & Uta Schönberg, 2021. "Wind of Change? Cultural Determinants of Maternal Labor Supply," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 090, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
    18. Gallen, Yana & Lesner, Rune V. & Vejlin, Rune, 2019. "The labor market gender gap in Denmark: Sorting out the past 30 years," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 58-67.
    19. Manuel Denzer & Philipp Grunau, 2021. "The Impacts of Working from Home on Individual Health and Well-being," Working Papers 2106, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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