DP13732 Motherhood Timing and the Child Penalty: Bounding the Returns to Delay

Author(s): Anikó Bíró, Steven Dieterle, Andreas Steinhauer
Publication Date: May 2019
Keyword(s): Female Earnings, fertility timing, imperfect instrument
JEL(s): C26, J13, J31
Programme Areas: Labour Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=13732

We use administrative data from Austria to analyze labor market returns to delaying motherhood. We exploit delays due to pregnancy loss to provide bounds on the returns that account for imperfect instruments and selection into the sample for mothers that suffer a loss. Our results suggest small effects of delay on earnings, employment, and firm quality--- in contrast with the prior literature. The lower bounds suggest little difference in earnings trajectories around the first birth. This raises the possibility that much of the return may come from delaying the "child penalty" rather than changing how the career responds to children.