Father as Breadwinner: Gendered Wage Penalties for Job Interruptions

Penelope M. Huang, University of Michigan

The wage penalty associated with motherhood and women's greater job discontinuity is well-established. Wage outcomes associated with men's family status and job discontinuity is less well-understood. Using a partial-adjustment model on fixed effects estimates, data from the NLSY(1979-1998) are used to estimate both immediate wage outcomes and longer-term wage trajectories as a function of family status and job interruptions for men and women. The possibility that men incur a "parenthood penalty" through penalties associated with family-related job absence is considered by disaggregating absences into reasons for them. Results indicate that women receive immediate wage penalties for family-related absences that do not persist over time, although a negative effect of children does. Men get a "pass" for family absences, but incur wage penalties for non-family job interruptions that do persist over time. Results implicate the reinforcement of traditional gender roles as a primary obstacle to gender equity in the labor market.

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Presented in Session 52: Gender and Family Roles