NBER

Jenny Shen

Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Princeton University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

June 2018The Mommy Effect: Do Women Anticipate the Employment Effects of Motherhood?
with Ilyana Kuziemko, Jessica Pan, Ebonya Washington: w24740
After decades of convergence, the gender gap in employment outcomes has recently plateaued in many rich countries, despite the fact that women have increased their investment in human capital over this period. We propose a hypothesis to reconcile these two trends: that when they are making key human capital decisions, women in modern cohorts underestimate the impact of motherhood on their future labor supply. Using an event-study framework, we show substantial and persistent employment effects of motherhood in U.K. and U.S. data. We then provide evidence that women do not anticipate these effects. Upon becoming parents, women (and especially more educated women) adopt more negative views toward female employment (e.g., they are more likely to say that women working hurts family life), sugg...

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