Gender gap or parenthood gaps? The contribution of parenthood to the gender wage gap, 1983-2013

Project Summary:

The authors will construct estimates of how much parenthood contributes to the gender wage gap. Although it is well-known that the gendered returns to parenthood contribute to the gender wage gap, there are few estimates of what proportion of the gap we can attribute to different returns to parenthood for men and women. If successful, this research could provide a more complete analysis of the phenomena contributing to the gender wage gap, including returns to education. The project will provide an empirical foundation for policies that support working parents as a key mechanism for promoting gender equity. The findings will bolster the economic argument for many policies relevant to equitable growth, including child care and parental leave.


Marta Murray-Close is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her research explores the interaction between labor markets and families. She is especially interested in the experiences of non-traditional families and has studied the economics of same-sex partnerships and dual-career couples who live apart. Before earning her Ph.D., Murray-Close worked for several years at an applied social research center in St. Paul, Minn., and earned a master’s degree in public policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She received a B.A. in Psychology from Smith College.