Job Mobility, Earnings, and the Price of Motherhood

Youngjoo Cha, Indiana University

Job mobility is increasingly common today compared with a few decades ago. This study evaluates whether this emerging trend affects men’s and women’s earnings differently under different macroeconomic conditions. Using longitudinal data drawn from the 2004 and 2008 panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation, I examine the effect of job mobility on women’s and men’s subsequent earnings in the pre-recession and recession years. The results show that changing employers for job-related reasons results in earnings growth. While the earnings growth is greater for women than for men, mothers benefit the least from this type of mobility among all groups of workers. This motherhood wage penalty is greater in the recession. Job mobility incurred by layoffs leads to greater earnings losses for women than for men in all years, but men’s earnings losses increase sharply during the recession. The subsequent analyses examine the effect of selectivity associated with reemployment in estimating the mobility effects.

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Presented in Session 157: Interaction of Economic and Family Processes