Friday, December 09, 2005

Long Live the Blog and How Early Motherhood Causes Lower Wages

First, I'd like to thank everyone for not abandoning the blog, even though, this is what, in effect, I've done. However, I hope that we can continue - I love our discussions.

Rebecca, your story is priceless. I love it, especially the ending where Adam didn't even know you had an iron. My mom, on a recent visit, also asked me where the iron and the ironing board was, I gave her my stock reply - ask Scott. I later found some ironed clothes, so I assume Scott was able to help her out.

Now, to the second part of the post. It seems that an economics professor has established that, for women in their 20s, having a first child a year later will increase the lifetime earnings by 10%. Wow. My question is (tongue-in-cheek, of course), does that also hold true for men?

Here's the article:

As always, comments and thoughts are welcome. Again, thanks for sticking with the blog. I really appreciate it.


Anonymous rebecca said...

Fascinating--and scary and depressing.

I wonder if these results are tied to new moms not getting promotions/bonuses because they need to be absent from work (or are unwilling/unable to work insane hours). Maybe a lot of new moms choose jobs that pay less but offer more flexibility, time off.

I'd also like to see a study about earnings and fathers!

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Scott Moss said...

I'd assume (I haven't read the article) that it's because, at least among high-wage white collar women, women who have children early disrupt their careers more than women who have children later, after establishing themselves professionally. The female lawyer who has a kid after several years at the firm may do better than the one who has a kid just after arriving. Or maybe it's that you're more likley to go to law school if you have a kid really early in life. Certainly this isn't true across-the-board (so please don't follow up my post with "no, that's wrong -- I know a partner at Foley who had a kid at 17..."), but if it's true as a statisticla average, it could explain the results discussed in the article.

Relatedly, the way scientists expanded the lifespan of fruit flies is that, for 12 generations, they made them reproduce later in life (i.e., they stopped them from reproducing while young). So if we all reproduce later in life, then 12 generations later, i.e., in about 500 years, our descendants will be extremely long-lived fruit flies.

5:00 PM  
Blogger Greene Machine said...

Whatever. I've made my bed and now I'll lie in it. So what if it has 150 thread count cotton sheets instead of 450 Egyptian cotton.

Seriously, I made my decision to have children early in my career precisely because I think that it will allow me to have better success in my career. The truth is, this study had to look at people who were having children in the 1980's and early 1990's in order to gauge the long term impact. Who knows if the same will be true of women who had children at the age of 25 in 2005. I hope not and I suspect not. At least not for me!

And if it's true that I won't make as much because of my personal choices, I'm willing to live with that. Maybe I won't have as much money in ten years, but I will have ten extra years with my kids.

3:37 PM  
Blogger think-knitter said...

I hate it when Greene machine makes good points. Where is Johnson when you need him? (For those of you who didn't go to law school with us, our contracts professor Johnson used to ascribe all kinds of smart things to me when it was actually Greene machine who came up with them).

2:10 PM  

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