Original Paper

Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 285-301

First online:

Effects of early maternal employment on maternal health and well-being

  • Pinka ChatterjiAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, University at AlbanyNBER Email author 
  • , Sara MarkowitzAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, Emory UniversityNBER
  • , Jeanne Brooks-GunnAffiliated withNational Center for Children and Families, Columbia University

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This study uses data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study on Early Child Care to examine the effects of maternal employment on maternal mental and overall health, self-reported parenting stress, and parenting quality. These outcomes are measured when children are 6 months old. Among mothers of 6-month-old infants, maternal work hours are positively associated with depressive symptoms and parenting stress and negatively associated with self-rated overall health. However, maternal employment is not associated with quality of parenting at 6 months, based on trained assessors’ observations of maternal sensitivity.


Maternal employment Maternal health Maternity leave Family leave

JEL Classification

I1 I10 I12