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"Opt-out" rates at motherhood across high-education career paths : selection versus work environment

Author: Jane Leber Herr; Catherine D Wolfram; National Bureau of Economic Research.
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : National Bureau of Economic Research, ©2009.
Series: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 14717.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
This paper examines the propensity of highly educated women to exit the labor force at motherhood. We focus on systematic differences across women with various graduate degrees to analyze whether these speak to differences in the capacity to combine children with work over a variety of high-education career paths. Working with a sample of Harvard alumnae observed 10 and 15 years after graduation, we find that the  Read more...
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Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Jane Leber Herr; Catherine D Wolfram; National Bureau of Economic Research.
OCLC Number: 307682743
Description: 1 online resource (57 pages) : illustrations, digital.
Series Title: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 14717.
Responsibility: Jane Leber Herr, Catherine Wolfram.

Abstract:

This paper examines the propensity of highly educated women to exit the labor force at motherhood. We focus on systematic differences across women with various graduate degrees to analyze whether these speak to differences in the capacity to combine children with work over a variety of high-education career paths. Working with a sample of Harvard alumnae observed 10 and 15 years after graduation, we find that the labor force attachment of mothers at the 15th year is highest among MDs (94 percent) and lowest among MBAs (72 percent) and women with no advanced degree (69 percent). We then use a rich set of biographical information on the alumnae, combined with data on their workplaces, to try to disentangle whether the working patterns observed reflect selection on the types of women pursuing different graduate degrees, or variation in the difficulty of combining work with family along different career paths. Our results suggest that work environments contribute to women's decision to exit the labor force at motherhood.

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