Children and the Remaining Gender Gaps in the Labor Market
This is a paper in the Motherhood Penalty literature.
To show that many of the explanations for the remaining gender gap in earnings/employment stem from the higher penalties women face with having kids relative to those men face
This paper provides a well-summarized overview of the current state of knowledge on the role of children/childbirth plays in the gender wage gap in the U.S.
LFP for U.S. women has plateaued at around 75% and even among full time workers women earn around 20% less than men. Gender pay gaps are even more pronounced at the top of the earnings distribution
Data & Key Variables
PSID 1976-2017 waves
Household heads and spouses aged 20-55 who had their first child between ages 20-45
Main outcome variable=annual labor earnings
Dynamic Decomposition: Focus on 4 ten year time periods. The mean gender earnings gap in each period=sum of estimated child penalties + the impact of mean differences in background characteristics + the impact of different coefficients on non-child covariates (differential returns by gender)
Background-related inequality accounted for ~13% of the gender gap in the 80s, but has declined. The magnitude of child-related gender inequality has risen over time, both in absolute terms (26% in the 1980s to 32% in the 2000s) and as a proportion of total gender inequality (40% in the 1980s to 70% in the 2000s). By the 2010s, child-related inequality accounts for 2/3 of the total wage gap