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CEP discussion paper
Employment Penalty After Motherhood In Spain
Maria Gutierrez-Domenech
September 2002
Paper No' CEPDP0546:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: I20;J13;J18;J20

Tags: employment transitions; fixed-term contracts; motherhood; education

This paper investigates whether there exists an employment penalty from motherhood in Spain. In particular, we are interested in transitions from employment to non-employment and downward occupational mobility. Results show that Spanish women experience significant transitions from employment to non-employment after first birth and these shifts are strongly linked to pre-birth job features and education. We find that around 40 percent of Spanish women who were at work one year before childbearing are not in employment one year after. Our analysis reveals that one third of them are unemployed nine months later. Longer follow-up shows that most of those who exit from employment remain out of work permanently. We find that fixed-term contracts (i.e. labour market uncertainty) impacts negatively on the likelihood of re-entry. On the other hand, accumulated human capital (experience and higher level of education) increases the probability of staying at work. There is evidence of differences between cohorts. Whereas in young cohorts exit is exclusively linked to childbearing, in old cohorts leaving employment is already initiated at marriage. For those Spanish women returning to work after confinement, downward occupational mobility is not common due to the lack of part-time jobs.