Nº 270 (November, 2020). I. Berniell, L. Berniell, D. de la Mata, M. Edo, Y. Fawaz, M.P. Machado & M. Marchionni
“Motherhood, Labor Market Trajectories, and the Allocation of Talent: Harmonized Evidence on 29 Countries”.
In this paper we assess whether changes in labor market decisions upon motherhood lead to potential inefficient allocations of talent. Using an event study approach with retrospective data drawn from SHARE for 29 European countries we show that motherhood effects go beyond the well studied effects of labor market participation decisions: the arrival of the first child substantially affects the uptaking of alternative modes of employment, such as part-time and self-employment, that are characterized by flexible or reduced work schedules but also lower pay on average. We also show that the size of labor market responses to motherhood are larger in societies with more conservative social-norms or with weak policies regarding work-life balance. To assess the effects of motherhood over the allocation of talent, we explore how labor market responses to parenthood vary by alternative measures of talent or ability. We find that all women, even those with the highest level of ability and abler than their husbands face large motherhood effects, while men show virtually no changes in the labor market when becoming fathers. We also find that mothers who become self-employed after the birth of the first child are those that are less entrepreneurial-able according to cognitive ability and personality traits shown to impair business survival. Overall, our results suggest relevant changes in the allocation of talent caused by gender differences in nonmarket responsibilities that can have sizable impacts on aggregate market productivity.
JEL codes: J13, J16, J24
Suggested citation: Berniell, I., L. Berniell, D. de la Mata, M. Edo, Y. Fawaz, M.P. Machado y M. Marchionni (2020). Motherhood, Labor Market Trajectories, and the Allocation of Talent: Harmonized Evidence on 29 Countries. CEDLAS Working Papers Nº 270, November, 2020, CEDLAS-FCE-Universidad Nacional de La Plata.