Using survey data from an online vignette experiment of college students at a large university in the southwest, I examine whether the “fatherhood premium” or “marriage premium” exists. Respondents were randomly assigned to conditions wherein they read a vignette about a potential applicant for an associate professor position. Applicant descriptions were constant across conditions, varying on parental status (parent and non-parent) and marital status (married and single). Respondents then evaluated their applicant on three universal dimensions of meaning: evaluation, potency and activity (EPA) to see if there are differences across applicant characteristics. Results show no major findings on ...view middle of the document...
It could be due to employer preferences for certain types of fathers (Correll et al. 2007; Kmec 2011), productivity differences between certain types of fathers (Killewald 2013), or a combination of these factors. Using a survey experiment methodology, I investigate the extent to which marital status affects the size of the fatherhood premium. I will control for productivity, allowing me to eliminate that as a reason for these relationships and focus on whether prospective employer perceptions vary across attributes of fathers.
The Fatherhood Premium
Studies find that fathers experience rewards in the workplace, or a “fatherhood premium”, in that others view fathers as overall better workers (Coltrane 2004; Correll et al. 2007; Fuegen et al. 2004). Correll, Benard and Paik (2007), found that subjects rated fathers more positively than non-fathers in many ways by recommending them for hire, offering them a higher starting salary, allowing them more days late, rating them more deserving of a promotion, more worthy of management positions.
One reason fathers benefit more than non-fathers has to do with their work patterns. Fathers work an extra two to three hours per week than do childless men (Kaufman and Uhlenberg 2000), which may influence the size of the fatherhood premium. Several studies also point to productivity differences, with fathers becoming more productive at work than non-fathers. Yet this mechanism is rarely measured (Budig and England 2001; Killewald 2013). Instead, studies suggest preferential treatment by employers may influence a large portion of the fatherhood premium. Researchers found that employers tend to believe that fatherhood motivates men more on the job and found in an experimental study that prospective employers rated fathers more positively and offered them higher starting salaries than non-fathers (Kmec 2011; Correll et al. 2007).
The Marriage Premium
Marriage, separately from parenthood, also tends to benefit men in the workplace. In fact, marriage increases men’s hourly wages by 10 to as much as 40 percent (Ahituv and Lerman 2007; Cohen 2002). Married men are also viewed more positively as workers. Married men receive higher performance evaluations and are more likely to be promoted than single men (Korenman and Neumark 1991; Mehay and Bowman 2005). Much like parenthood, marriage additionally brings rewards for men in the workplace.
Explanations for the marriage premium are similar to explanations for the fatherhood premium. Men’s wages increase when their wives assume more of the unpaid labor as they assume more responsibility in paid labor. However, many studies that find that men’s unpaid labor times are not associated with wage increases (Hersch and Stratton 2000; Lincoln 2008). A second explanation is that that married men are more productive than single men. For example, Lincoln (2008) found that married men with high labor force attachment receive marriage premiums. Third, employer...