Research

Interests: child and family policy, early childhood education, parental wellbeing and labor market outcomes, economics of gender

Working Papers

[1] Baby bumps in the road: The impact of parenthood on job performance, human capital, and career advancement (with Jennifer Heissel), in progress.

We evaluate month-by-month impacts of parenthood on men and women’s job performance, human capital accumulation, and career advancement using detailed data from the U.S. Marines. We estimate traditional event study models around the first birth followed by a matching strategy. Our matching strategy uses LASSO-selected predictors of a first birth to assign “placebo births” to non-parents. We study several standardized measures of job performance: job-relevant physical fitness test scores, supervisor-ratings of job proficiency, and scores on a firm-specific task (rifle and pistol marksmanship). We also examine months spent in firm-specific training, formal education degree attainment, and promotions.

We find negative impacts on parents’ job performance and accumulation of firm-specific training in the two years after having a child, concentrated mainly among women. Consistent with these findings, women’s promotion trajectories slow in response to childbirth. Men have slightly lower physical performance in the first year postbirth but are otherwise largely unaffected by parenthood. Slower promotion trajectories for mothers are driven by women missing key job performance tests due to pregnancy and postpartum waivers. In a complementary analysis, we exploit sudden policy changes to the length of paid maternity leave. Longer leaves exacerbate declines in women’s job-related physical fitness but do not consistently change their promotion trajectories.

[2] Targeted public pre-K on the broader child care market in Illinois. Mimeo July 2021.

[3] Healy, O., Gonzalez, K., Miratrix, L., & Sabol, T.J. (2021). Variation in teacher quality over the preschool year and its implications for early childhood education accountability systems. Under review.

[4] Gonzalez, K., Healy, O., Miratrix, L., & Sabol, T.J. (2021). The ups and downs of classroom quality over the preschool year and relations to children’s school readiness. Mimeo November 2020. Under review.

Works in Progress

[1] Parenthood and health: Measuring the effects of maternity leave, paternity leave, and child care (with Jennifer Heissel), in progress.

  • Funded by Evidence for Action (E4A) grant, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

[2] Three generational support: time and money transfers between grandparents and adult children who become parents (with Rachel Dunifon), in progress.