Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 1071–1100

The effects of motherhood timing on career path

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00148-009-0296-x

Cite this article as:
Miller, A.R. J Popul Econ (2011) 24: 1071. doi:10.1007/s00148-009-0296-x


This paper estimates the effects of motherhood timing on female career path, using biological fertility shocks to instrument for age at first birth. Motherhood delay leads to a substantial increase in earnings of 9% per year of delay, an increase in wages of 3%, and an increase in work hours of 6%. Supporting a human capital story, the advantage is largest for college-educated women and those in professional and managerial occupations. Panel estimation reveals both fixed wage penalties and lower returns to experience for mothers, suggesting that a “mommy track” is the source of the timing effect.


Fertility timing Female wages Family gap 

JEL Classification

J31 J13 K31 

Supplementary material

148_2009_296_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (61 kb)
Supplementary Figure(PDF 48 KB)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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