While much research has focused on the difference in earnings between childless women and men and mothers and fathers, somewhat less is known on the difference in earnings between women and their partners, in particular in the transition to parenthood. This article fills this void by investigating within-couple earnings inequality in the event of a childbirth in different institutional settings. Two research questions are addressed: (i) Does a childbirth lead to a reduction in women's earned income relative to their partner? (ii) Can mothers compensate the loss of labour-related income through alternative sources of income? Fixed effects panel models on EU-SILC (2004-2008) data from eight European countries show that having a child negatively affects women's share of earned income in the majority of countries. However, cross-national differences in the results suggest that in countries where income support for parents is higher, mothers can rely on non-labour sources of income, such as payments from parental leave benefits, to compensate the reduction of relative earned income. In other words, the results indicate a relative motherhood penalty in earnings that is not, ultimately, a relative motherhood penalty in income, at least in the short run. In countries where income support for parents is lower, by contrast, the negative effect of a childbirth on the mothers' earnings is smallest, indicating that women privilege remaining in the work force around childbirth.

Within-Couple Inequality in Earnings and the Relative Motherhood Penalty : a Cross-National Study of European Countries / G. Dotti Sani. - In: EUROPEAN SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW. - ISSN 0266-7215. - 31:6(2015 Dec), pp. 667-682.

Within-Couple Inequality in Earnings and the Relative Motherhood Penalty : a Cross-National Study of European Countries

G. Dotti Sani
2015

Abstract

While much research has focused on the difference in earnings between childless women and men and mothers and fathers, somewhat less is known on the difference in earnings between women and their partners, in particular in the transition to parenthood. This article fills this void by investigating within-couple earnings inequality in the event of a childbirth in different institutional settings. Two research questions are addressed: (i) Does a childbirth lead to a reduction in women's earned income relative to their partner? (ii) Can mothers compensate the loss of labour-related income through alternative sources of income? Fixed effects panel models on EU-SILC (2004-2008) data from eight European countries show that having a child negatively affects women's share of earned income in the majority of countries. However, cross-national differences in the results suggest that in countries where income support for parents is higher, mothers can rely on non-labour sources of income, such as payments from parental leave benefits, to compensate the reduction of relative earned income. In other words, the results indicate a relative motherhood penalty in earnings that is not, ultimately, a relative motherhood penalty in income, at least in the short run. In countries where income support for parents is lower, by contrast, the negative effect of a childbirth on the mothers' earnings is smallest, indicating that women privilege remaining in the work force around childbirth.
Settore SPS/09 - Sociologia dei Processi economici e del Lavoro
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/626018
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