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Skills and Career Progression: Topics in Entrepreneurship and High-Skilled Labor Markets

Paper Session

Friday, Jan. 5, 2024 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM (CST)

Grand Hyatt, Crockett A/B
Hosted By: Labor and Employment Relations Association
  • Chair: Mary Kaltenberg, Pace University

The Effect of Childcare Access on Women's Careers and Firm Performance

Elena Simintzi
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Sheng-Jun Xu
University of Alberta
TIng Xu
University of Toronto


We study the effect of government-subsidized childcare on women's career outcomes and firm performance using linked tax filing data. Exploiting a universal childcare reform in Quebec in 1997 and the variation in its timing relative to childbirth across cohorts of parents, we show that earlier access to childcare increases employment among new mothers, particularly among those previously unemployed. Earlier childcare access increases new mothers' reallocation of careers into more demanding jobs in male-dominated firms, leading to higher earnings and higher productivity. Firms traditionally unattractive to women with children benefit from such reallocation, experiencing higher growth and performance. Our results suggest that childcare frictions hamper women's career progression and their allocation of human capital in the labor market.

Does Maternity Hold Back "Marie Curies"?

Mary Kaltenberg
Pace University
Ling Zhou
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne


Female invention participation has steadily grown in the U.S. over the past few decades, but the gender innovation gap remains substantial. This growth in participation corresponds with an overall increase in female labor force participation and changes in maternity leave policies. Using inventor data from patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, this paper seeks to evaluate the impact of maternity leave policies on the careers of female inventors in terms of exit decisions, productivity and creativity. Our findings suggest that unpaid family leave promotes the retention of female inventors, and we find varying results on paid family leave policies on increasing productivity and creativity.

Knockin' on the Bank's Door: Why is Self-Employment Going Down?

Alina Malkova
Florida Institute of Technology


This study analyzes a decline in the ability to obtain financing as a potential explanation for the decrease in U.S. self-employment. The shrinking of the U.S. bank branch network since 2010 reduces the accessibility of credit institutions for borrowers. To evaluate the impact of the bank branch closings, I use a shift-share style research design to assess the exit from self-employment using zip-code variation in preexisting bank market shares. I disaggregate the self-employed into two categories: entrepreneurs whose businesses depend on business loans (incorporated self-employed) and other self-employed (unincorporated self-employed). Using a novel data source (the Community Advantage Panel Survey database), I find that the proximity of credit market institutions has heterogeneous effects on the transition out of self-employment. Branch closings lead to the decline of incorporated business owners and do not affect unincorporated businesses, but these effects are short-term and very localized.

The Labor Market Returns of Being an Artist: Evidence from the United States, 2006-2021

Christos Makridis
Stanford University


Using individual-level data from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) between 2006 and 2021, I study the labor market experiences of artists. First, I find a large decline in the relative earnings of artists to non-artists from zero to a 15% disadvantage. After controlling for demographic differences, the decline is even sharper, declining from a 15% earnings disadvantage to 30%. That the inclusion of demographic controls raises the earnings gap suggests there is positive selection into the arts. Second, these differences decline in magnitude to 3%, but remain statistically significant, even after comparing artists and non-artists in the same industry and year. Third, individuals with an arts degree, but who do not work as artists, incur an additional earnings penalty. These results highlight the increasing financial precariousness of artists over the past decade.

Sarah H. Bana
Chapman University
JEL Classifications
  • J0 - General
  • J1 - Demographic Economics