Working Papers

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

  • How does parenting influence gender inequality in science? We investigate this question by examining data on children, productivity, and promotions for nearly 83,000 American scientists in 1956, the height of the baby boom (1946-64). Using patents to measure productivity, we find that parenting reduced the productivity of mothers but not fathers. Mothers were less productive in their 20s and early 30s but became more productive after age 35, reaching peak productivity several years after other scientists. Event study estimates show that the productivity of mothers declined after they married but recovered 15 years later. In contrast, fathers and other women were most productive in the early years after marriage. These differences in the timing of productivity have important implications for promotions. Specifically, we find that mothers were 21 percent less likely to be promoted to tenure compared with fathers and 19 percent less compared with other women. In contrast, fathers were slightly more likely to get tenure compared with other men. To interpret these findings, we investigate selection into marriage, parenting, and “survival” in science. Mothers were no less productive than other women, but female scientists married late and had fewer children than male scientists. Linking our data with faculty records, we show that female scientists, and especially mothers, were less likely to survive in science. Employment data reveal a dramatic decline in entry by women who were in their 20s at the baby boom, suggesting that the disparate burden of parenting created a lost generation of female scientists.

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.