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Title: Essays on Motherhood, Wages, and Labor Supply
Resulting in 1 citation.
1. Winder, Katie L.
Essays on Motherhood, Wages, and Labor Supply
Ph.D. Dissertation, The Johns Hopkins University, 2007. DAI-A 67/11, May 2007
Cohort(s): Children of the NLSY79, NLSY79
Publisher: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT)
Keyword(s): Child Care; Fertility; Head Start; Labor Supply; Maternal Employment; Modeling, Instrumental Variables; Motherhood; Mothers, Income; Propensity Scores; Wage Determination; Wages, Women

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

This thesis explores the effect of motherhood on women's wages and labor supply decisions. The first essay investigates the motherhood wage penalty, or the unexplained portion of the wage gap between mothers and non-mothers after controlling for observable characteristics. Rather than a causal effect, the observed penalty could be due to the presence of unobserved heterogeneity, endogeneity, or sample selection that bias OLS estimates. To investigate this, I apply the fixed effects estimator with instrumental variables (FE/IV) to panel data from the NLSY for the years 1988-1998. Using mainly state or local variables as instruments to predict fertility and work experience, I find that the motherhood wage penalty becomes insignificant for both white and black women. This finding is confirmed using when mothers are grouped by education or child's age. In addition, the possibility of selection bias into employment is considered using Wooldridge's (1995) technique for panel data.

The second essay asks whether government-provided child care increases the employment of mothers. I use NLSY Head Start enrollment data to calculate non-experimental estimators of the average treatment effect of participation on the mother's employment, including matching and weighting on the propensity score. I find no statistically significant effect of the treatment on employment using these methods, a finding confirmed by using several comparison groups. In addition, negative and significant effects are found for white mothers. However, using a regression discontinuity (RD) design resulted in small positive effects of Head Start participation for mothers' employment growth (5%) for some sample restrictions, but no effect using other samples. For those mothers participating in welfare, some sample restrictions using RD resulted in a larger positive effect of Head Start of 8%. The RD estimates differ substantially from those of the matching and weighting estimators, which could suggest that the latter do not fully remove the selection bias.

Bibliography Citation
Winder, Katie L. Essays on Motherhood, Wages, and Labor Supply. Ph.D. Dissertation, The Johns Hopkins University, 2007. DAI-A 67/11, May 2007.