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The Effects of Parental Division of Employment on Child Outcomes During Adulthood

By Meredith Parenti 

This paper offers an empirical analysis of the effects of division of employment between parent figures on future outcomes of children. Using propensity score matching, this study extends upon previous research to offer an understanding of the joint role played by maternal employment and that of a present or non-present husband. Data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Young Adults and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 are used to create and examine a comprehensive set of respondents’ backgrounds and labor outcomes. Relative to children from two parent homes with only working fathers, children from two parent homes with part-time working mothers and non-working fathers appear to have less positive labor outcomes. Conversely, children with full-time working mothers without spouses in the home have more positive labor outcomes. These findings demonstrate the mediation of each parent figure on the role of the other in determining outcomes and suggest maternal work is beneficial to children, or plays no significant role, unless a mother has to support not only her children, but also her husband through her employment.

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Advisors: V. Joseph Hotz and Michelle Connolly | JEL Codes: J01, J12, J22

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