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Is there a motherhood penalty in academia? The gendered effect of children on academic publications

Mark Lutter and Martin Schröder

No 19/2, MPIfG Discussion Paper from Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies

Abstract: Based on data that tracks CV and publication records as well as survey information from sociologists in German academia, we examine the effects of parenthood on the publication output of male and female academics. Results indicate that having children leads to a significant decline in the number of publications by women, while not affecting the number of publications by men. We also find that the gendered effect of children on productivity hardly mitigates differences in publication output between men and women, as women still publish about 20 percent less than men after controlling for the adverse effects of children on productivity. We further find that the gendered effect of childbearing depends partly on prior levels of women's academic achievements, which suggests mechanisms of performance-driven self-selection. Lower-performing women tend to suffer a stronger motherhood penalty, while the publication output of more successful women (who have been granted academic awards) is not reduced through childbirth. The results indicate that women are better at managing the 'double burden' of parenthood and career if external, award-giving committees have bestowed prestige upon them and indicated their potential for a scientific career. Overall, these findings contribute to a better understanding of how to reduce the adverse effect of children on female publication output.

Keywords: academic career; academic publications; children; gender gap; motherhood penalty; Benachteiligung von Müttern; Geschlecht; Kinder; wissenschaftliche Karrieren; wissenschaftliche Publikationen (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dem, nep-gen and nep-sog
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