Job Market Paper
What Works for Working Mothers? A Regular Schedule Lowers the Child Penalty (with Ludovica Ciasullo)
Which working arrangements do mothers prefer, and how do these working arrangements affect the child penalty they experience? The Australian 2009 Fair Work Act explicitly entitled parents of young children to request a (reasonable) change in working arrangements. Leveraging variation in the timing of the law, timing of childbirth, and the bite of the law across different occupations and industries, we establish two main results. First, if allowed to request a change in working arrangements, new mothers ask for regularity in their schedule. Second, with regular schedules, working mothers' child penalty declined from a 47 percent drop in hours worked to a 40 percent drop. For the most exposed mothers, the Fair Work Act led to both a doubling in schedule regularity, and a 30% decrease in the child penalty in hours of work.