Does Biology Drive Child Penalties? Evidence from Biological and Adoptive Families

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This paper investigates whether the impact of children on the labor market outcomes of women relative to men—child penalties—can be explained by the biological links between mother and child. We estimate child penalties in biological and adoptive families using event studies around the arrival of children and almost 40 years of adoption data from Denmark. Short-run child penalties are slightly larger for biological mothers than for adoptive mothers, but their long-run child
enalties are virtually identical and precisely estimated. This suggests that biology is not a key driver of child-related gender gaps.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Economic Review: Insights
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)183-198
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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