NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Mothers' Employment and Children's Educational Gender Gap

Xiaodong Fan, Hanming Fang, Simen Markussen

NBER Working Paper No. 21183
Issued in May 2015
NBER Program(s):ED, LS, PE

This paper analyzes the connection between two concurrent trends since 1950: the narrowing and reversal of the educational gender gap and the increased labor force participation rate (LFPR) of married women. We hypothesize that the education production for boys is more adversely affected by a decrease in the mother's time input as a result of increasing employment. Therefore, an increase in the labor force participation rate of married women may narrow and even reverse the educational gender gap in the following generation. We use micro data from the Norwegian registry to directly show that the mother's employment during her children's childhood has an asymmetric effect on the educational achievement of her own sons and daughters. We also document a positive correlation between the educational gender gap in a particular generation and the LFPR of married women in the previous generation at the U.S. state level. We then propose a model that generates a novel prediction about the implications of these asymmetric effects on the mothers' labor supply decisions and find supporting evidence in both the U.S. and Norwegian data.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Access to NBER Papers

You are eligible for a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

Supplementary materials for this paper:

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21183

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Li, Whalley, Zhang, and Zhao w13849 The Higher Educational Transformation of China and Its Global Implications
Bertrand and Pan w17541 The Trouble with Boys: Social Influences and the Gender Gap in Disruptive Behavior
Lewis and Peri w20428 Immigration and the Economy of Cities and Regions
Chiappori, Costa Dias, and Meghir w21004 The Marriage Market, Labor Supply and Education Choice
Autor, Figlio, Karbownik, Roth, and Wasserman w22267 Family Disadvantage and the Gender Gap in Behavioral and Educational Outcomes
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us