The Child Penalty - What about Job Amenities?

University of St. Gallen, Department of Economics, Discussion Paper No. 2008-22

37 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2008

Date Written: November 2008


Women with children tend to earn lower hourly wages than women without children - a shortfall known as the 'child penalty'. While many studies provide evidence for this empirical fact and explore several hypotheses about its causes, the impact of motherhood on job dimensions other than wages has scarcely been investigated. In order to assess changes in women's jobs around the time of first childbirth, I use data from the German Socio-Economic Panel and apply an event study analysis. The results show not only a significant change in women's hourly wages (-19%) once becoming mothers, but also in other non-pecuniary job characteristics, such as working hours (-15 hours), night work (-6%), work in the evening hours (-8%), stress (-10%), physical requirements (4%), hazards (-3%) and distance to the workplace (-1km). In order to assess the hypothesis that mothers might substitute wages for non-wage benefits, I additionally estimate a hedonic wage regression. The results suggest that mothers trade pecuniary for non-pecuniary job characteristics and hence, that part of the child penalty (8.2%) might be interpreted as a compensating wage differential.

Keywords: Penalty, Compensating Wage Differentials, Sample Selection in Panel Data

JEL Classification: J31, J33

Suggested Citation

Felfe, Andrea Christina, The Child Penalty - What about Job Amenities? (November 2008). University of St. Gallen, Department of Economics, Discussion Paper No. 2008-22, Available at SSRN: or

Andrea Christina Felfe (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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