What does the stork bring to women's working career?


Many studies have been devoted to analyse the effect of maternity on working mothers; they mostly refer to countries where female participation is high. Fewer studies consider Southern European countries. This paper aims at filling the gap analysing the effects of motherhood on women’s working career in Italy, a neat example of Southern European country where female participation is increasing but still low and where the decrease in trade unions’ power increased wage disparities._x000d_ Our results show that conditional average wages of mothers become significantly lower than those of non-mothers after childbirth, showing no sign of a closing gap 5 years afterward. However, this penalty does not emerge for mothers moving to a part-time job; hence - differently from the existing literature - we highlight the potential role of part-time jobs in mitigating the "reduced effort" effect of childrearing. Furthermore, we estimate a significant increase in the probability of transition from employment to non-employment for new mothers. The probability is higher the lower the pre-childbirth wage. However, this penalty is reduced by the availability of part-time jobs in mothers’ relevant labour market. Hence again it emerges the potential role of part-time jobs in mitigating the negative effect of childbirth on women’s labour market participation. _x000d_ _x000d_ Keywords: motherhood, part-time jobs, wage penalty, career._x000d_ JEL codes: J13, J31