The Role of Parenthood on the Gender Gap among Top Earners
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- Discussion papers (SAM) 
Is the wage penalty due to motherhood larger among highly qualified women? In this paper, we study the effect of parenthood on the careers of high-achieving women relative to high-achieving men in a set of high-earning professions with either nonlinear or linear wage structures. Using Norwegian registry data, we find that the child earnings penalty for mothers in professions with a nonlinear wage structure, MBAs and lawyers, is substantially larger than for mothers in professions with a linear wage structure. The gender earnings gap for MBA and law graduates is around 30%, but substantially less for STEM and medicine graduates, 10 years after childbirth. In addition, we provide some descriptive statistics on the role of fertility timing on the child earnings penalty.