Department of Economics and Business Economics

Long-term Consequences of Early Parenthood

Research output: Working paper

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Having children at an early age is known to be associated with unfavorable economic outcomes, such as lower education, employment and earnings. In this paper, we study the long-term consequences of early parenthood for mothers and fathers. Our study is based on rich register-based data that, importantly, merges all childbirths to the children’s mothers and fathers, allowing us to study the consequences of early parenthood for both parents. We perform a sibling fixed effects analysis in order to account for unobserved family attributes that are possibly correlated with early parenthood. The analysis is based on Danish men and women born between 1968 and 1977, from whom we identify brothers and sisters, respectively. We find that early parenthood reduces educational attainment and employment, and that the relationship is only slightly weaker for men than for women. One exception is earnings (and to lesser extent employment), as fathers appear to support the family, especially when early parenthood is combined with cohabitation with the mother and the child. Heterogeneous effects reveal that individuals with a more favorable socioeconomic background are affected more severely than individuals with a less favorable background. We interpret this as evidence of higher opportunity costs or stigma.
Original languageEnglish
Place of publicationAarhus
PublisherInstitut for Økonomi, Aarhus Universitet
Number of pages41
StatePublished - 9 Apr 2018
SeriesEconomics Working Papers
Number2018-01

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