Women continue to face large and persistent drops in terms of all labor market outcomes at the arrival of children. Researchers now understand that these “child penalties” on women may account for a substantial fraction of the large level of gender inequality that persists in the labor market in all developed nations.
But the mapping that goes from children to gender inequality and welfare still remains mostly unchartered. First, research has only been able to identify the effect of children once they arrive, missing all the potentially large anticipatory effects of children, in terms of education, marriage choices, etc. that significantly impact the lifetime trajectories of men and women. Second the mechanisms underlying the persistence of “child penalties” and of such strict gender specialization at the arrival of children are not well understood. Comparative advantages have a hard time accounting for the stickiness of large “child penalties” despite the massive changes in relative education and in the relative cost of child care. Is it about preferences then, or cultural norms? If so, how are these formed? Finally, we still do not understand how these “child penalties” actually translate into welfare.
Building on unique administrative data pooled across countries, on new measures from the field of natural language processing, on compelling quasi-experimental designs and on established techniques in public finance that parsimoniously map empirical moments into welfare evaluation, GENEQUALITY will i) shed new light on the impact of children on gender inequality, ii) provide new evidence on the mechanisms underlying strong gender specialization in parenthood, iii) map the welfare consequences of “child penalties”, and iv) characterize the optimal policies aimed at addressing them.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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