Biology, Gender Norms or Social Constraints? Parenthood Wage Penalty in Heterosexual and Same-Sex Couples in Spain

Irene Lapuerta , Universidad Pública de Navarra (UPNA)
Marta Dominguez-Folgueras, CRIS
María José González, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Empirical evidence shows that the arrival of children frequently involves an increase in gender inequalities over the life course. Three competing explanation arise in this context: the biological costs of giving birth, the gender norms around child care in heterosexual couples and the social constraints imposed by limited state support for parenthood in countries such Spain. The aim of this paper is to disentangle the role of these competing explanations by analysing the effect of children on individuals’ wage according to their living arrangement (same-sex versus heterosexual couples) and the region of residence (proxy for different institutional contexts or family policy generosity). The study is based on panel data from the Continuous Sample of Working Lives, and relies on a sample consisting of 200,000 women and men aged 25-40 in 2005 and followed thereafter. Previous studies revealed a negative association between child parity and women’s wages with a reduction of 4% for the first child, 10% for the second and 13% for three or more children. The current proposal builds on this research to include new dimensions such as gender, living arrangement and regions.

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 Presented in Session 102. Parenthood and Paid/Unpaid Work