171/2013 Mariaelisa Epifanio and Vera E. Troeger
Motherhood and professional achievements appear as conflicting goals even for academic women. This project explores this tension by focusing on a set of provisions on parental and maternity leaves across 165 higher education institutions in the UK. Generous maternity provisions generate countervailing incentives for female academics. On the one hand, advantageous policies can foster women’s productivity in terms of research outcomes allowing them to take time out of work without income and career break concerns. On the other hand, women can exploit generous provisions without generating returnable results for the academic institution. We argue that adverse selection problems lead universities to differentiate among academic staff by offering two different types of maternity provisions (more vs less generous maternity leaves) in order to "test" women’s commitment and research ability before offering permanent contracts. Our results support this this line of argumentation. We also find that generous maternity leaves and childcare provisions positively affect the number of women at research and professorship levels.
Behavioural Economics and Wellbeing