The wage penalty for motherhood

M. J. Budig, Paula England

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Motherhood is associated with lower hourly pay, but the causes of this are not well understood. Mothers may earn less than other women because having children causes them to (1) lose job experience, (2) be less productive at work, (3) trade off higher wages for mother-friendly jobs, or (4) be discriminated against by employers. Or the relationship may be spurious rather than causal-women with lower earning potential may have children at relatively higher rates. The authors use data from the 1982-1993 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth with fixed-effects models to examine the wage penalty for motherhood. Results show a wage penalty of 7 percent per child. Penalties are larger for married women than for unmarried women. Women with (more) children have fewer years of job experience, and after controlling for experience a penalty of 5 percent per child remains. "Mother-friendly" characteristics of the jobs held by mothers explain little of the penalty beyond the tendency of more mothers than non-mothers to work part-time. The portion of the motherhood penalty unexplained probably results from the effect of motherhood on productivity and/or from discrimination by employers against mothers. While the benefits of mothering diffuse widely-to the employers, neighbors, friends, spouses, and children of the adults who received the mothering-the costs of child rearing are borne disproportionately by mothers.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)204-225
    Number of pages22
    JournalAmerican Sociological Review
    Volume66
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - 2001

    Fingerprint

    motherhood
    penalty
    wage
    employer
    part-time work
    experience
    cause
    spouse
    wife
    discrimination
    productivity
    costs

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science

    Cite this

    Budig, M. J., & England, P. (2001). The wage penalty for motherhood. American Sociological Review, 66(2), 204-225.

    The wage penalty for motherhood. / Budig, M. J.; England, Paula.

    In: American Sociological Review, Vol. 66, No. 2, 2001, p. 204-225.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Budig, MJ & England, P 2001, 'The wage penalty for motherhood', American Sociological Review, vol. 66, no. 2, pp. 204-225.
    Budig MJ, England P. The wage penalty for motherhood. American Sociological Review. 2001;66(2):204-225.
    Budig, M. J. ; England, Paula. / The wage penalty for motherhood. In: American Sociological Review. 2001 ; Vol. 66, No. 2. pp. 204-225.
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