Working Papers

Women in Science. Lessons from the Baby Boom (with Petra Moser)

  • How do children impact innovation and productivity in science? To answer this question, we examine detailed biographical data for 83,000 American scientists in 1956, at the height of the baby boom (1946-64). Using patents to measure productivity, we show that mothers have a unique pattern of productivity across the life cycle, reaching peak productivity in their early 40s, long after other scientists decline. Event studies of marriage reveal that mothers experience a large and persistent increase in output after the first 15 years of marriage, while other scientists begin to fade after the first 10 years of marriage. These differences in timing have important implications for gender inequality in science: mothers were 21 percent less likely to advance to tenure compared with fathers, and 19 percent less than other women. Analyses of selection yield no evidence that mothers were less productive than other women before marriage. However, female scientists, and especially mothers, were less likely to survive in science. Scientist-level employment data reveal a dramatic decline in participation by women who were of childbearing age during the baby boom. These findings suggest that the baby boom wiped out a generation of women in science.

Past Theses

Contending with Amazon's Rise: Causal Effect of Amazon Fulfillment Centers on Local Labor Markets (Undergraduate Honors Thesis advised by Lawrence J. White)

  • In 2017, 43% of all online sales within the United States involved Amazon, and in that same year, 64% of all households in America held Amazon Prime subscriptions. Clearly, Amazon’s immense economic impact is indisputable, but so is the figure of taxpayers’ money that the company receives. By the end of 2016, Amazon had received over $1 billion in terms of tax benefits from local governments with hopes that the company would bring new jobs into local communities through the expansion of its distribution network across the country. With such development projects consisting of the construction of facilities as large as 1,000,000 square feet in some cases, Amazon's net effect on local labor markets remains unclear. This paper investigates the effects of Amazon’s arrival into such communities by estimating the causal impact of Amazon fulfillment centers on local employment and annual wages within the warehousing and storage industry. By linking county-specific employment and annual wage data with the establishment of all Amazon fulfillment centers, I am able to establish and describe the causal relationships between fulfillment centers and local labor markets. For employment, Amazon fulfillment centers seem to create new jobs within the warehousing and storage industry while simultaneously increasing average annual wages. The paper also found evidence suggesting that Amazon's impact depends on the urbanity of counties. This is evidenced by how counties with lower levels of population densities were affected more by Amazon's arrival.