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Maria Stanfors, Lund University, Sweden

Two for the price of one? Economic consequences of motherhood in contemporary Sweden.
When Apr 09, 2018
from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM
Where 1101 Morrill Hall
Contact Name
Contact Phone 301-405-6403
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About the Presentation

The presence of young children increase family responsibilities and housework, and commonly affects women’s labor market outcomes negatively. Family policy aim at facilitating the combination of work and family. Sweden is a well-known frontrunner when it comes to work-family compatibility through comprehensive policy and generous benefits. While the expansion of policies is associated with higher levels of female labor force participation and fertility, the economic consequences for individual women are less clear. This study aims to infer the long-term effects of career interruptions due to childbirth on women’s earnings, by using administrative data for the Swedish population during 1968-2009. We exploit twin births as a ‘fertility shock’ and compare mothers whose first birth was to twins with those who had singletons. Among women born 1950-1965, earnings were negatively affected by the first birth, but earnings recovery was significantly faster among women who had an unplanned birth. Among women who had a maximum of two children, twin mothers were similar to one-child mothers regarding earnings development. The women who had twins as first birth almost got two for the price of one. For other two-child mothers, the economic consequences of having an additional birth were real and substantial. The impact of twins first is long-lasting and extends to continued childbearing.

About the Speaker

Maria Stanfors

Maria Stanfors, PhD, Professor in Economic History and affiliated to the Centre for Economic Demography at Lund University, Sweden. Her main research interest includes the economic histories of female labor force participation, earnings, housework, and family formation, as well as the interrelationships between them. She runs parallel projects on past and present gender differentials in labor market outcomes (focusing on wages and careers); and time use, family dynamics and gendered patterns of caregiving across the life course in Sweden, Europe and North America. Recent publications (2015-) include contributions to the Feminist Economics, Journal of Marriage and Family, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, and Demographic Research.

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