The Effect of Marriage and Childbearing on the Wages of Men and Women
Published In: The Journal of Human Resources, v. 44, no. 2, Spring 2007, p. 326-349
Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2006
We use data from the earlier and later cohorts of the NLSY to estimate the effect of marriage and childbearing on wages. Our estimates imply that marriage lowers female wages 2-4 percent in the year of marriage. Marriage also lowers the wage growth of men and women by about two and four percentage points, respectively. A first birth lowers female wages 2-3 percent, but has no effect on wage growth. Male wages are unaffected by childbearing. These findings suggest that early marriage and childbearing can lead to substantial decreases in lifetime earnings.