56 Indus. & Lab. Rel. Rev. 273 (2002-2003)
The Motherhood Wage Penalty Revisited: Experience, Heterogeneity, Work Effort, and Work-Schedule Flexibility

handle is hein.journals/ialrr56 and id is 275 raw text is: THE MOTHERHOOD WAGE PENALTY REVISITED:
This paper seeks an explanation for the well-documented wage disadvantage
of mothers compared to women without children. An analysis of data from the
1968-88 National Longitudinal Survey of Yotng Women shows that human
capital inputs and tnobserved heterogeneity explain 55-57% of the gap. Fur-
ther analysis suggests that mothers tended to face the highest wage penalty when
they first returned to work. A finding that medium-skill mothers (high school
graduates) suffered more prolonged and severe wage losses than either low- or
high-skill mothers casts doubt on the work-effort explanation for the wage gap,
according to which women reduce work effort in response to childcare duties.
The authors instead cite variable time constraints: high school graduates are
likely to hold jobs requiring their presence during regular office hours, and are
unlikely to gain flexibility by finding work at other hours or by taking work home
in the evening.

t is well documented that mothers earn
less than women without children. A
variety of factors could explain this wage
penalty, including reduced investment in
wage-enhancing human capital, unobserved
heterogeneity between mothers and non-
mothers, and lower work effort by mothers.
*Deborah J. Anderson is Assistant Professor of
Educational Leadership at the University of Arizona;
Melissa Binder is Assistant Professor of Economics
and Kate Krause is Associate Professor of Economics,
both at the University of New Mexico. Earlier ver-
sions of this paper were presented at Cornell Univer-
sity and the Society of Labor Economists 6th Annual
Meeting in Austin, Texas. The authors are grateful
for the many helpful comments received during those
presentations. The authors also thank Francine Blau,
John Cheslock, Ronald Ehrenberg, Philip Ganderton,
and Dan Hamermesh for their helpful comments on
earlier drafts of this paper.

In this paper, we extend previous studies of
the motherhood wage penalty in two ways.
First, we consider heterogeneity among
mothers in the timing of their return to the
labor force. If working mothers of infants
and toddlers avoid a wage penalty because
they are more career-oriented and more
likely to return to the same job than moth-
ers who delay their return to the labor
force, then wage penalties estimated for a
pooled sample of all mothers will mask the
true penalty, as well as its source.
A data appendix with copies of the computer
programs used to generate the results presented in
the paper is available from Deborah Anderson at the
College of Education, University of Arizona, Tucson,
AZ 85721. Data extracts were created using SAS; all
statistics reported in this study were produced with
the software Stata.

Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 56, No. 2 (January 2003).  by Cornell University.
0019-7939/00/5602 $01.00

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