NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Does Biology Drive Child Penalties? Evidence from Biological and Adoptive Families

Henrik Kleven, Camille Landais, Jakob Egholt Søgaard

NBER Working Paper No. 27130
Issued in May 2020, Revised in August 2020
NBER Program(s):Children, Health Economics, Labor Studies, Public Economics

This paper investigates if the impact of children on the labor market outcomes of women relative to men — child penalties — can be explained by the biological links between mother and child. We estimate child penalties in biological and adoptive families using event studies around the arrival of children and almost forty years of adoption data from Denmark. Short-run child penalties are slightly larger for biological mothers than for adoptive mothers, but their long-run child penalties are virtually identical and precisely estimated. This suggests that biology is not a key driver of child-related gender gaps.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27130

 
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