Providing for a Family in the Working Class: Gender and Employment after the Birth of a Child

Janette Dill, Adrianne Frech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Navigating the labor market in today's economy has become increasingly difficult for those without a college degree. In this study, we ask whether and how working-class men and women in the United States are able to secure gains in wages and/or earnings as they transition to parenthood or increase family size. We look closely at child parity, employment behavior (e.g., switching employers, taking on multiple jobs, increasing hours), and occupation in the year after the birth of a child. Using the 2004 and 2008 panels of the Survey for Income and Program Participation (SIPP), we employ fixed-effects models to examine the impact of changing labor market behavior or occupation on wages and earnings after the birth of a child. We find limited evidence that low- and middle-skill men experience a "fatherhood premium" after the birth of a child, conditional on child parity and occupation. For men, nearly all occupations were associated with a "wage penalty" after the birth of a child (parity varies) compared to the service sector. However, overall higher wages in many male-dominated and white-collar occupations make these better options for fathers. For women, we see clear evidence of a "motherhood penalty," which is partly accounted for by employment behaviors, such as switching to a salaried job or making an occupational change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-210
Number of pages28
JournalSocial Forces
Volume98
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

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