Parenthood and the Gender Earnings Gap in the United States

Publication Date


Grant Type

Early Career Research Award


The existence of a “child penalty” in labor-market income has been documented in a range of advanced economies, yet little is known about the mechanisms that create this sharp and persistent divergence in the earnings of mothers and fathers. This project will explore these mechanisms using a novel dataset linking administrative data on workers and their employers to detailed information on the date of birth of their children. We will provide new evidence on the role played by job-to-job transitions, sorting into different firm types, changes in professional and social networks, and firm behavior. These results will have implications for our understanding of gender differences in the labor market and the expected effects of policies designed to close the gender gap.