Job Mobility and the Great Recession: Wage Consequences by Gender and Parenthood

Youngjoo Cha

Sociological Science, May 2, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a12

This study examines how inter-organizational mobility affects earnings inequality based on gender and parenthood under different macroeconomic conditions. Fixed effects regression analysis of Survey of Income and Program Participation data from 2004 to 2012 shows that earnings growth after quitting jobs for work-related reasons (e.g., to improve one’s job situation) is greater for women than for men pre-recession, but the trend is driven by childless women, and mothers of children under six benefit the least among all groups of workers. However, this motherhood wage penalty disappears in the 2008 recession, as a result of the decline of wage returns to mobility for childless women. The analysis also shows that across economic conditions, the rate of layoffs or displacement is higher among men than women, but once laid off, women experience greater earnings losses than men. No motherhood penalty is found for this mobility type. These findings help us understand the longitudinal process by which the motherhood wage penalty is generated, and conditions under which a motherhood-based or gender-based wage gap becomes more pronounced.

Youngjoo Cha: Indiana University. E-mail:

  • Citation: Cha, Youngjoo. 2014. “Job Mobility and the Great Recession: Wage Consequences by Gender and Parenthood.” Sociological Science 1: 159-177.
  • Received: October 31, 2013
  • Accepted: January 19, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Olav Sorenson
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a12

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