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The Work-Employment Distinction among New Mothers

By Jacob Alex Klerman and Arleen Leibowitz

Abstract

CPS data for 1979 to 1988 are used to examine the determinants of employment, actual work, and maternity leave for women in the year following childbirth. Women with better market skills (higher expected wages, older, more education) are more likely than other new mothers to have a job and to work. Among employed women, paid leave is also positively related to market skills. Work responds to childbirth more than employment does, with the greatest differences in the first three months following childbirth. Therefore, most women working when their child was one year old had returned to work within three months of childbirth.

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