Is There an Advantage to Working? The Relationship between Maternal Employment and Intergenerational Mobility

33 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2015

See all articles by Martha Harrison Stinson

Martha Harrison Stinson

Government of the United States of America - Bureau of the Census

Peter Gottschalk

Boston College; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: September 01, 2015

Abstract

We investigate the question of whether investing in a child’s development by having a parent stay at home when the child is young is correlated with the child’s adult outcomes. Specifically, do children with stay-at-home mothers have higher adult earnings than children raised in households with a working mother? The major contribution of our study is that, unlike previous studies, we have access to rich longitudinal data that allows us to measure both the parental earnings when the child is very young and the adult earnings of the child. Our findings are consistent with previous studies that show insignificant differences between children raised by stay-at-home mothers during their early years and children with mothers working in the market. We find no impact of maternal employment during the first 5 years of a child’s life on earnings, employment, or mobility measures of either sons or daughters. We do find, however, that maternal employment during children’s high school years is correlated with a higher probability of employment as adults for daughters and a higher correlation between parent and daughter earnings ranks.

Keywords: human capital, child development, female labor supply

JEL Classification: J13, J22, J24

Suggested Citation

Harrison Stinson, Martha and Gottschalk, Peter, Is There an Advantage to Working? The Relationship between Maternal Employment and Intergenerational Mobility (September 01, 2015). US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies Paper No. CES-WP- 15-27, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2664563 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2664563

Martha Harrison Stinson (Contact Author)

Government of the United States of America - Bureau of the Census ( email )

4600 Silver Hill Road
Washington, DC 20233
United States

Peter Gottschalk

Boston College ( email )

Chestnut Hill, MA 02167
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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