How work-family policies combine to shape the motherhood wage penalty in a cross-national perspective

Michelle J. Budig, University of Massachusetts
Joya Misra, University of Massachusetts
Irene Boeckmann, University of Massachusetts

While family policies are argued to impact the motherhood wage penalty, the relationship between the size of motherhood penalties, and specific work-family policies or "policy packages" is not clearly understood in a cross-national context. Using original policy data, and microdata from the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS), we estimate multilevel models across 22 countries to examine relationships between the motherhood wage penalty and country-level work/family policies, including birth-related and extended leave policies, the availability of publicly supported childcare services, taxation of second earner's incomes and transfer payments to families. However, policy schemes are always part of a broader policy context. Findings for individual policies may not be robust net of other policy combinations. Therefore, we investigate whether and how different combinations of policies alter the associations of specific policies with the motherhood penalty.

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Presented in Session 12: Thematic session: Social policy effects on family behavior