Working with Children? The Probability of Mothers Exiting the Workforce at Time of Birth

FRB Atlanta Working Paper No. 2008-8

44 Pages Posted: 7 May 2008

See all articles by Julie L. Hotchkiss

Julie L. Hotchkiss

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; Georgia State University - Department of Economics

M. Melinda Pitts

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

MaryBeth Beth Walker

Georgia State University

Date Written: February 2008

Abstract

Recent trends in the labor force participation of women have brought much public attention to the issue of women opting out. This paper explores the decision of working women to exit the labor market at a time of major transition the birth of a child utilizing linked vital statistics, administrative employer, and state welfare records. The results indicate that, consistent with utility maximization theory, women are not just opting out but rather are accurately assessing the potential opportunity and direct labor market costs of their exit decisions and are making workforce exit decisions based on measurable costs and benefits.

Keywords: female labor force participation, children, firm and industry dynamics

JEL Classification: J22, J21, C24

Suggested Citation

Hotchkiss, Julie L. and Pitts, M. Melinda and Walker, Mary Beth Beth, Working with Children? The Probability of Mothers Exiting the Workforce at Time of Birth (February 2008). FRB Atlanta Working Paper No. 2008-8. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1129278 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1129278

Julie L. Hotchkiss

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta ( email )

Research Department
1000 Peachtree Street N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30309-4470
United States
404-498-8198 (Phone)
404-498-8058 (Fax)

Georgia State University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 3992
Atlanta, GA 30302-3992
United States

M. Melinda Pitts (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta ( email )

1000 Peachtree Street, NE
Atlanta, GA 30309-4470
United States
404-498-7009 (Phone)
404-498-8956 (Fax)

Mary Beth Beth Walker

Georgia State University ( email )

35 Broad Street
Atlanta, GA 30302
United States

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