The Mommy Track Divides: The Impact of Childbearing on Wages of Women of Differing Skill Levels

45 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2010

See all articles by Elizabeth Wilde

Elizabeth Wilde

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Lily L. Batchelder

New York University School of Law

David T. Ellwood

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: December 2010

Abstract

This paper explores how the wage and career consequences of motherhood differ by skill and timing. Past work has often found smaller or even negligible effects from childbearing for high-skill women, but we find the opposite. Wage trajectories diverge sharply for high scoring women after, but not before, they have children, while there is little change for low-skill women. It appears that the lifetime costs of childbearing, especially early childbearing, are particularly high for skilled women. These differential costs of childbearing may account for the far greater tendency of high-skill women to delay or avoid childbearing altogether.

Suggested Citation

Wilde, Elizabeth and Batchelder, Lily L. and Ellwood, David T., The Mommy Track Divides: The Impact of Childbearing on Wages of Women of Differing Skill Levels (December 2010). NBER Working Paper No. w16582. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1719942

Elizabeth Wilde (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Lily L. Batchelder

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States
212-992-8156 (Phone)

David T. Ellwood

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-1121 (Phone)
617-496-9053 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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