Is there a Motherhood Penalty in Academia? The Gendered Effect of Children on Academic Publications

Note long: 
Title has changed
02.10.2018 - 17:15 to 18:45
Location : 
A 5,6 Raum A 231
Type of Event : 
AB A-Kolloquium
Prof. Dr. Mark Lutter
Lecturer affiliation: 
Bergische Universität Wuppertal

This study examines how childbirth affects academic publication outcomes of men and women differently. Advancing over prior work, the study theorizes and distinguishes between-level from within-level effects, and tests for the effects of performance-driven self-selection. It makes use of a unique panel dataset that tracks CV and publication records from a large number of sociologists in German academia, and combines this data with information on their parental status from an online survey. Results show that men and women with children generally publish less than childless researchers in comparable situations. Fixed-effects models indicate that childbirth leads to a significant decline in publications outcomes for women, while not affecting publications of men. We also find that the gendered effect of children on publishing hardly mitigates differences in publication output between men and women, as women still publish 20.5 percent less than men if we do control for the adverse effects of children on publication outcomes. Lastly, we find that the gendered effect of childbearing on research productivity partly depends on prior levels of women’s academic achievements, suggesting mechanisms of performance-driven self-selection. Lower performing women tend to suffer a stronger motherhood penalty, while for successful women (women that have been granted with academic awards), the motherhood penalty significantly declines. The results could indicate that women are better at managing the “double burden” – kids and career – if external, award-giving committees have bestowed prestige upon them and indicated their potential for a scientific career. Overall, these findings contribute to a better understanding on how to reduce the adverse effect of children on female publication productivity.