The Effect of Maternal Employment on Children's Academic Performance

48 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2013

See all articles by Rachel Dunifon

Rachel Dunifon

Northwestern University - Institute for Policy Research

Anne Toft Hansen

The Danish National Centre for Social Research

Sean Nicholson

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis & Management (PAM); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Lisbeth Palmhøj Nielsen

Aarhus University

Date Written: August 2013

Abstract

Using a Danish data set that follows 135,000 Danish children from birth through 9th grade, we examine the effect of maternal employment during a child's first three and first 15 years on that child's grade point average in 9th grade. We address the endogeneity of employment by including a rich set of household control variables, instrumenting for employment with the gender- and education-specific local unemployment rate, and by including maternal fixed effects. We find that maternal employment has a positive effect on children's academic performance in all specifications, particularly when women work part-time. This is in contrast with the larger literature on maternal employment, much of which takes place in other contexts, and which finds no or a small negative effect of maternal employment on children's cognitive development and academic performance.

Suggested Citation

Dunifon, Rachel and Toft Hansen, Anne and Nicholson, Sean and Nielsen, Lisbeth Palmhøj, The Effect of Maternal Employment on Children's Academic Performance (August 2013). NBER Working Paper No. w19364, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2315448

Rachel Dunifon (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Institute for Policy Research ( email )

2003 Sheridan Rd
Evanston, IL 60208-2600
United States

Anne Toft Hansen

The Danish National Centre for Social Research ( email )

Herluf Trolles Gade 11
1052 Kobenhavn K
Denmark

Sean Nicholson

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis & Management (PAM) ( email )

120 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-254-6498 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Lisbeth Palmhøj Nielsen

Aarhus University ( email )

No Address Available

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