Cover: Family Formation, Labor Market Experience, and the Wages of Married Women

Family Formation, Labor Market Experience, and the Wages of Married Women

Published 1978

by John F. Cogan, Franklin Dale Berger


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An examination of the impact of the timing, spacing, and number of births on the mother's pattern and amount of lifetime market work and the pattern of growth in her wage rate. It is found that a women who has one child will work about 2.5 years less over her lifetime than a woman with no children. A second child results in two more years out of the labor market, and third child one additional year. Child rearing, through its effect on accumulated work experience, has a substantial effect on wage rates. The average wage rate over the life cycle of a woman with no children is 13 percent higher than that of a woman who has three children spaced three years apart, beginning at age 22 (average age of a woman at the birth of her first child in the sample). The maximum difference in wage rates is 22 percent and occurs at age 32.

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