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Can some women have it all? Social group differences in the parenthood effect re-examined Pia Schober University of Cambridge.

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Presentation on theme: "Can some women have it all? Social group differences in the parenthood effect re-examined Pia Schober University of Cambridge."— Presentation transcript:

1 Can some women have it all? Social group differences in the parenthood effect re-examined Pia Schober University of Cambridge

2 Motivation Gender inequality in time allocations and earnings widen from parenthood Earnings penalty lower for highly educated mothers: they return faster and full-time and have higher wages Motherhood gap by education very large in UK and results in lower life-time earnings and pensions Adequate childcare necessary for mothers return to work and longer domestic work time reduces womens wages Quantitative studies on mothers labour market outcomes control for education or use it as earnings proxy (Smeaton 2006; Vlasblom and Schippers 2004) Few studies of mothers labour market participation consider interdependence with domestic work

3 Literature Existing domestic work literature describes differences by education (Sullivan 2000; Gershuny 2000) Qualitative studies concentrate on social group variations in mothers identities (e.g. Hays 1996) Recent studies focus on identity versus institutional constraints (e.g. McRae 2003; Crompton 2006) Few studies explore the meaning of educational differences around parenthood and their origins What can explain differences in the domestic work arrangements of mothers with low, medium and high levels of education?

4 Education: sources of advantage Human capital theory (Becker 1981) Skills, experience, knowledge and other personal attributes contributing to productivity and earnings potential Recent extension to social and personal capital Sociological theories (e.g. Bourdieu 1986, Coleman 1988) Social position incl. financial, social and cultural capital resources Cultural capital may include gender role identities, career orientations, childcare ideals

5 Explanations for womens domestic work Neo-classical economic theory Opportunity costs Outsourcing of housework and childcare Resource-bargaining approach Partners contributions Identity e.g. Doing gender and childcare ideals Own and partners contributions Social networks e.g. help from grandparents Statutory policies e.g. maternity leave, childcare tax credit Employer provided family-friendly arrangements

6 Hypotheses - Transmission of advantage Higher educational attainment increases: H1: present earnings and ability to outsource housework and childcare H2: future earnings potential and opportunity costs of domestic work H3: egalitarian gender role identity and career orientation H4: choice of equally educated partner: contradictory effects of partners earnings potential and gender role identity

7 Measures of mothers domestic arrangements Womens weekly housework hours Mens weekly housework hours Whether father shares childcare responsibility Whether household has help with housework How child is cared for while mother works

8 Method and Data British Household Panel Survey ( ) Sample of 520 cohabiting couples becoming parents Women older than 20 years at birth Focus on 2nd year after 1st birth OLS and logistic regressions with lagged dependent variables Not considered: maternity leave and interdependence with paid work

9 Explanatory variables (pre-birth) Highest level of education: low ( =A- levels), high(>=university degree) H1: Womens hourly wage rate H2: Womens earnings potential Essex score (incl. education, occupation mean wage x age, and work experience) Mean wage of occupation, interaction with age Hope-Goldthorpe scale of occupational status H3: Latent factor of womens gender role attitudes H4:Partners education, present and potential earnings, and partners gender role attitudes Controls: Pre-birth dependent var, partners ages, relationship duration, marital status at birth, age and sex of 1st child, 2 nd child or pregnant, survey year, region

10 Modelling strategy 1.Education+controls 2.Step 1+present earnings 3.Step 1+earnings potential 4.Step 1+gender role attitudes 5.Combination of most significant variables

11 Differences by educational level Women's work hours Womens housework hours Partners' housework hours Fathers sharing childcare Help with housework Informal vs formal chc Woman low education ***3.865** ^-2.050*1.612*** Woman medium education-7.327**2.360* ^0.815* Man low education6.852*** * Man medium education6.753** * Controls: Pre-birth dependent var, partners ages, relationship duration, marital status at birth, age and sex of 1st child, have 2nd child or pregnant, survey year, region

12 Results: Transmission of advantage

13 Conclusion H1: Present earnings account for low-medium differences in paid work and formal childcare use and for medium-high differences in housework help and formal childcare H2: Earnings potential accounts for several differences between women with low or medium vs. high education H3: Gender role identities account for educational differences in childcare division H4: Partners education largely insignificant; GRA important for womens housework and outsourcing but partners earnings are insignificant Useful to consider separately mothers identities and differentiate present and future earnings Next steps: accounting for selection into parenthood

14 Results: Transmission of advantage

15 Change in couples division of labour

16 Change in paid work and housework hours

17 Results


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