Hanna Wang, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona/BSE

Life-cycle Implications of Childbirth on Women’s Job Search and Mobility


We document using Dutch administrative and survey data that women’s job mobility drops around childbirth. In particular, conditional on working, women make fewer job-to- job transitions starting one year before birth until more than eight years post-birth. Moreover, we find that around this period, women are less likely to engage in on-the-job search and more likely to work in jobs with better amenities, such as regular work hours and no overtime work. We develop a life-cycle labor supply, job search and job switching model for women in which mothers and pregnant women face higher search costs. Jobs are characterized as bundles of wages and amenities, where amenities decrease the utility cost of working. We estimate the model and quantify the contribution of a novel channel of the child penalty: Because women are less likely to search for and move to new jobs around and after giving birth, they remain in jobs with lower wages and amenities. This further decreases labor supply incentives and lowers earnings and wages. Our simulations show that higher search costs of women related to childbirth lead to a significant reduction in lifetime earnings. We further evaluate a recent reform that eliminated an employer-specific tenure requirement for parental leave.

Hanna Wang is an Assistant Professor at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, a Research Fellow at MOVE, and an Affiliated Professor at the BSE. She is interested in employment and fertility over the lifecycle, job search and gender differences in employment decisions.

In one of her papers, she studies how parental leave, childcare and other child-related policies affect women's lifetime labor and fertility decisions in Germany. Responses depend not only on the woman's education level and fertility preference but also vary in timing. She further demonstrates how to optimally set policies when trying to achieve different objectives. In another paper, she examines to which extent workers' application efforts vary across different skill levels when competing in the same labour market. She theoretically shows that the concern to lose job offers to more skilled workers can have an ambiguous effect on the benefit of sending additional applications.

You can read more about Hanna Wang here

CEBI contact: Thomas Høgholm Jørgensen