Are mothers more likely than fathers to lose their jobs?
39 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2021
Date Written: December 5, 2020
The motherhood wage penalty is often cited as a contributor towards the gender earnings gap. A potential explanation involves women’s reduced labor force participation and paid work hours after having children. Yet, the literature says little about whether mothers’ labor supply reductions are entirely voluntary. This study utilizes two US longitudinal panels to measure children’s impact on parent job loss. Mothers are significantly more likely than fathers to involuntarily lose their jobs. The gap is substantial, persists over time, is robust to a variety of model specifications, and exists among a host of demographic sub-samples. While a definite mechanism is elusive, the study posits that productivity decline may disproportionately lead to mothers losing their jobs more so than fathers.
Keywords: gender gap, turnover, termination, separation
JEL Classification: J16, J63
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation