Labour Economics, 12(4) pp 469-486

In this paper we present estimates of the penalty in pay associated with motherhood for 11 European countries. Firstly, analysis of the European Community Household Panel Survey (ECHP) reveals that significant penalties in pay exist within Germany, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain and Portugal. Analysis for Germany (using the German Socio-Economic Panel) and the UK (using the British Household Panel Survey) reveals that career breaks contribute towards lower earnings growth. While periods of family formation are associated with lower earnings growth in Germany, in the UK completed spells of family formation are associated with a recovery in earnings growth.