Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 991–1023 | Cite as

Worker-firm matching and the parenthood pay gap: Evidence from linked employer-employee data

  • Lionel WilnerEmail author
Original Paper


The parenthood pay gap is not fully explained by human capital depreciation and unobserved heterogeneity. Endogenous worker-firm matching could also account for such wage differences. This hypothesis is tested thanks to linked employer-employee data on the French private sector between 1995 and 2011. Childbirth penalties are estimated for women and for men from hourly wage equations including firm- and worker-fixed effects on top of usual measures of human capital. Though worker-firm matching explains none of the motherhood wage penalty, it plays a role in the case of fathers who do not experience any wage loss after childbirth, but do not enjoy any premium either; there is evidence of an erosion of this premium since the end of the 1990s. In a counterfactual where women do not incur any penalty after childbirth, the gender gap still amounts to 2/3 of the one that currently prevails.


High dimensional fixed effects Worker-firm matching Parenthood pay gap Gender inequalities Linked employer-employee data 

JEL Classification

J13 J16 J31 



I am grateful to the editor, Erdal Tekin, to three anonymous referees for helpful suggestions as well as to Miriam Beblo, Richard Blundell, Élise Coudin, Laurent Gobillon, Francis Kramarz, Fabrice Lenglart, Laurent Linnemer, Thierry Magnac, Sophie Ponthieux, Johannes Spinnewijn, Michael Visser, and Andrea Weber for their insightful comments. I am especially indebted to Dominique Meurs and Sébastien Roux for their stimulating discussions. I also thank attendees at Insee (Paris) seminars, at the Fourth SOLE/EALE World Conference (Montréal) and at the European Winter Meeting of the Econometric Society 2014 (Madrid). All errors and opinions are mine. The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CREST-ENSAEMalakoffFrance

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