A new study finds that skilled women pay a huge price for having children. By Kimberly Weisul
If you knew that having a child would decrease the amount of money you made over your lifetime by six percent, would you still do it? How about if it dented your lifetime earnings by 24 percent?
That's the question raised by a paper from Harvard University's David Elwood, Columbia University's Elizabeth Ty Wilde, and New York University's Lily Batchelder. The researchers tried to determine if there's an economic cost to women who have children, and if so, whether that cost is affected by the skill level of the women or the age at which they have kids. The results, in contrast to earlier research on the topic, are stark: High-skilled women pay a huge penalty, in terms of earnings, for their little bundles of joy. And for those women, there's good economic reason to postpone motherhood: The longer high-skilled women wait to have kids, the smaller their economic sacrifice becomes.
- Low-skilled women don't get very big raises, and having kids does