Fatherhood and wage inequality

New open access article out now. The study investigates whether and how fatherhood shapes the wage distribution in Britain, Finland, and Germany.

Parenthood separates men and women. While mothers’ earnings penalties are well documented, a growing number of studies show that fathers often earn more than childless men, the so-called fatherhood wage premium. Yet the sources of fathers’ higher wages are contested.

Using longitudinal data from the 1995 to 2016 waves of the Finnish Linked Employer Employee data, German Socio-Economic Panel, and UK Longitudinal Household Study, the authors compare three countries that differ in their wage bargaining institutions and family policies.

Results indicate little evidence of substantial fatherhood wage effects along men’s wage distribution. Instead findings add to the evidence that the “fatherhood premium” predominantly is the result of selection. This suggests that higher earning men, as well as men whose wages grow faster, are more likely to enter parenthood. Finally, having children shifts the wage distribution similarly across the three diverse policy contexts. Yet fatherhood shifts the bottom part of the distribution to the left particularly in the UK.

More information

Anna Erika Hägglund, researcher

Icardi, R., Hägglund, A. E., & Fernández-Salgado, M. (2021). Fatherhood and wage inequality in Britain, Finland, and Germany. Journal of Marriage and Family, 1– 18. https://doi.org/10.1111/jomf.12792