Motherhood earnings penalties and work-family policies: Is more always better?

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Work in Progress

14432831937_65e5266464_o Image AWO Saarland via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

by Irene Boeckmann, Joya Misra & Michelle Budig

Mothers earn less than fathers and childless men on average, but also less than women without children at home. Part of these earnings difference can be explained by the work experience mothers might lose due to employment interruptions or part-time work while caring for their families.

Even after taking differences in education, labor market experience, job characteristics, work hours, and marital status, mothers still earn significantly less than women without care responsibilities.

Indeed, in a study we recently published, we find that U.S. mothers pay an earnings penalty of 8% per child.

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