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Intergenerational Transfers, Parenthood, and Female Hardship

Paper Session

Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022 12:15 PM - 2:15 PM (EST)

Hosted By: American Economic Association & Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession
  • Chair: Jennifer Doleac, Texas A&M University

Do Richer Parents Cushion the Fall? Disparate Impacts of Job Loss by Parental Income and Implications for Intergenerational Mobility

Emily Nix
University of Southern California
Martti Kaila
University of Helsinki
Krista Riukula


Does job loss cause less economic damage if your parents are higher-income, and what are the implications for intergenerational mobility? In this paper we show that following a layoff, adult children born to parents in the bottom 20% of the income distribution have almost double the unemployment compared with those born to parents in the top 20%, with 50.5% higher present discounted value losses in earnings. Second, we show that the unequal impacts of job loss are larger when the economy is growing than when it is in recession. Third, we show that these disparate impacts of job loss have important implications for inequality and intergenerational mobility. They increase the 80:20 income inequality ratio for those impacted by 5.2% and increase the rank-rank coefficient by 23%, implying large reductions in intergenerational mobility. In the last part of the paper we explore mechanisms and show that much of these differences in the impacts of job loss between children of low- and high-income parents can be explained by "baked in" advantages.

Does the Child Penalty Strike Twice?  

Sarah Sander
University of Copenhagen and University College London
Mette Gørtz
University of Copenhagen
Almudena Sevilla
University College London


This paper studies the relative labor market outcomes of grandmothers in comparison to grandfathers before and after the arrival of the first grandchild. We employ a quasi-experimental event study approach to study the dynamic effects of having a grandchild on a wide range of labor market outcomes. To that end, we use multi-generational high-quality Danish register data containing yearly information in the period 1980–2017 on families in which a person became a grandparent for the first time between 1985 and 2012. We find that women's labor market outcomes decline at a steeper rate than men's after the arrival of the first grandchild. We find gender gaps in earnings of four and ten percent five and ten years after the arrival of the first grandchild, which is driven by women's labor supply on both the intensive and extensive margin. As an identification check, we study the effect of having grandchildren per se, by using a Difference-in-Differences event study design including men and women without grandchildren as controls in the analysis. The analysis confirms that grandmothers adjust their labor supply more than grandfathers upon the arrival of a grandchild. We contribute to the recent strand of research aimed at understanding how fertility can explain the persistent nature of gender inequality in the labor market by investigating how the arrival of grandchildren may further aggravate gender inequality.

Maternal Stress, Compositional Change, and Infant Health after a State Sentencing Reform  

Siobhan O'Keefe
Davidson College


Due to the strong socioeconomic gradient in incarceration rates, scholars have identified mass incarceration as a potential channel behind continued discrepancies in health outcomes across socioeconomic groups. This paper leverages women's exposure to a state sentencing reform through their partner market to understand the relationship between incarceration rates and infant and maternal health. After the reform drastically increased incarceration rates, the average birth saw improvements in health outcomes. However, once maternal characteristics are accounted for the results are mixed: increases in the incidence of low-birth-weight births, hypertension, and the use of tobacco, but a decrease in preterm births. These results are consistent with both increased maternal stress and compositional change as mechanisms. A decomposition exercise shows both socioeconomic and biological factors are important contributors to the relationship between incarceration rates and infant and maternal health.

The Impact of Unconditional Police Reporting on Domestic Violence

Esther Arenas-Arroyo
Vienna University of Economics and Business


Over the last years, many countries have adopted policies aimed at reducing
violence against women. Most of the enacted measures prioritize criminal justice
as a response to intimate partner violence and require an initial report of domestic
abuse to the police. This study assesses how lowering barriers for women to leave
an abusive relationship a ects domestic violence. Exploiting the temporal and
geographic variation in the adoption of non-mandatory police reporting laws, I
nd that allowing battered women to receive protection and assistance without the
need to face the legal system when reporting the abuse reduces intimate partner
homicides. I show that facilitating the dissolution of abusive relations and reducing
domestic violence in intact couples are the two mechanisms through which the law
is working.

Petra Persson
Stanford University
Patricia Cortes
Boston University
Jennifer Doleac
Texas A&M University
Melissa Spencer
University of Richmond
JEL Classifications
  • I1 - Health
  • J1 - Demographic Economics