The Effect of Child Gender on Parents’ Labor Supply: Responses among Natives, Immigrants, and Racial and Ethnic Subgroups

Sabrina Pabilonia, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Jennifer Ward-Batts, Wayne State University

Research has shown that child gender affects household behavior in both developing and developed countries. Child gender affects many aspects of parents’ behavior, including labor supply, marital stability, and time spent with children. Research using PSID and NLS data has found conflicting results on the direction, but in both cases, that child gender affects parents' labor supply. We explore whether parents’ apparent bias may be attributable to culture, which changes slowly but may have developed in response to economic incentives, such as a higher return on investment in sons, or old age support provided by a son. We use data from the March CPS and Census to examine U.S. parents with a young child to determine whether having a son rather than a daughter has a significant effect on parents’ labor supply and whether the culture of immigrants or racial/ethnic subgroups results in different effects of child gender across groups.

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Presented in Session 168: Gender and the Labor Market