Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 12 No. 1 (Winter 1998)


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Understanding the "Family Gap" in Pay for Women with Children

Article Citation

Waldfogel, Jane. 1998. "Understanding the "Family Gap" in Pay for Women with Children." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 12(1): 137-156.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.12.1.137


As the gender gap in pay between women and men has been narrowing, the 'family gap' in pay between mothers and nonmothers has been widening. One reason may be the institutional structure in the United States, which has emphasized equal pay and opportunity policies but not family policies, in contrast to other countries that have implemented both. The authors now have evidence on the links between one such family policy and women's pay. Recent research suggests that maternity leave coverage, by raising women's retention after childbirth, also raises women's levels of work experience, job tenure, and pay.

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Waldfogel, Jane (Columbia U)

JEL Classifications

J16: Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
J31: Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
J13: Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth


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