Parenthood and labour market outcomes

Being a mother    
means decreased hours and wages.    
No such change for dads.   

fernando pelaez cubas 498399 unsplash lowresThis paper is an initial exploration of what we can learn regarding the drivers of the gender pay gap in New Zealand from combining administrative wage data, birth records, and survey data on hours worked and earnings. Our particular focus is the role of parenthood penalties in this pay gap. In NZ, as internationally, the gender pay gap is larger among parents than non-parents, though the mechanisms driving this relationship are not entirely clear. We use administrative wage data to describe the distribution of how long women are out of paid employment after having their first child and how this differs with pre-parenthood income. We then look at employment rates and wage earnings among employed women each month in the five years before and ten years after birth of their first child. We also compare women who spend different lengths of time out of employment both overall and within each pre-parenthood earnings quartile. Although this does not strictly isolate the causal effect of length of time out of employment on subsequent monthly earnings, it does show how, within earnings quartiles, women who return quickly to work increase their earnings lead over those who return more slowly. 




Sin, Isabelle, Kabir Dasgupta and Gail Pacheco. 2018. “Parenthood and labour market outcomes.” Motu Working Paper 18-08, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research. Wellington, New Zealand. (Also a Ministry for Women Report.)


Ministry for Women