Social Science and the Public Interest
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U.S. Mothers’ Long-Term Employment Patterns
In the February 2019 issue of Demography, Alexandra Killewald and Xiaolin Zhuo argue that “previous research on maternal employment has disproportionately focused on the immediate postpartum period and typically modeled either cross-sectional employment status or time until a specific employment transition.” Instead, the authors “conceptualize maternal employment as a long-term pattern, extending the observation window and embedding employment statuses in temporal context.” They “document five common employment patterns of American mothers over the first 18 years of maternity. Three typical patterns revolve around a single employment status: full-time (36 %), part-time (13 %), or nonemployment (21 %); the other two patterns are characterized by 6 (15 %) or 11 (14 %) years of nonemployment, followed by a period of transition and then full-time employment.” They believe that they have provided “the first description of American mothers’...