Partnership Characteristics and the Motherhood Wage Penalty: The Influence of Sexual Orientation

Pearl Kyei, University of Pennsylvania

The existence of a motherhood or family wage gap in the labor market has been well-documented but a population sub-group for whom researchers have not fully explored the wage effects of parenthood is the same-sex unmarried couple population. The purpose of this paper is to determine whether a motherhood wage penalty exists for same-sex unmarried partner (SSUP) parents using PUMS data from the U.S. census and the American Community Survey to compare four different partnership types: married, two-sex unmarried partners, female SSUP and male SSUP. The hypothesis is that a motherhood penalty would exist for SSUP parents of both sexes but would be significantly smaller than that for the general female population. Preliminary findings indicate that having a dependent child actually has a positive (negative) association with the wages of female (male) SSUP parents which is contrary to current knowledge on the effect of parenthood on earnings.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 48: Motherhood and Work