16 June 2020

Our Policy Penalizes Women for Creating the Next Generation

Given how much we tax women to give birth to and raise the next generation, women who have graduate or professional degrees are twice as likely to be childless as women who are high school dropouts. Women with a Bachelor's degree are 30% more likely to be childless than a woman with only a high school diploma. We penalize women for creating the next generation and the penalty comes in the form of lost income.

(You can find the data for these calculations here:
https://www.census.gov/…/de…/fertility/women-fertility.html… )

We could change these results with a change in policy.

Make the rash assumption that you want someone to give birth to and raise the next generation. Further, rashly assume that you'd like those people to reflect the current workforce - people from the 1st to 99th percentile of income. That is, you don't want only the poor or very rich to be able to afford to take the time and afford the income cut that comes with having babies.

A wise society might not just minimize the cost for having a baby but actually provide a bonus to women who choose to become mothers.

As it is, women's wages first fall when they have a baby and then begin to rise again. But, "While this recovery is encouraging, it is not large enough to return women to their pre-birth earnings path." That is, women not only lose income at the time a baby is born but never quite get back to the same income trajectory they were on. An economist might tell you that the more something costs, the less of it people will buy. As crude as it sounds, the data suggests that this is even true for babies.


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