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Skills and Career Progression: Topics in Entrepreneurship and High-Skilled Labor Markets

Paper Session

Friday, Jan. 5, 2024 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM (CST)

Grand Hyatt, Crockett A/B
Hosted By: Labor and Employment Relations Association
  • Chair: Mary Kaltenberg, Pace University

The Effect of Childcare Access on Women's Careers and Firm Performance

Elena Simintzi
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Sheng-Jun Xu
University of Alberta
TIng Xu
University of Toronto


We study the effect of government-subsidized childcare on women's career outcomes and firm performance using linked tax filing data. Exploiting a universal childcare reform in Quebec in 1997 and the variation in its timing relative to childbirth across cohorts of parents, we show that earlier access to childcare increases employment among new mothers, particularly among those previously unemployed. Earlier childcare access increases new mothers' reallocation of careers into more demanding jobs in male-dominated firms, leading to higher earnings and higher productivity. Firms traditionally unattractive to women with children benefit from such reallocation, experiencing higher growth and performance. Our results suggest that childcare frictions hamper women's career progression and their allocation of human capital in the labor market.

Does Maternity Hold Back "Marie Curies"?

Mary Kaltenberg
Pace University
Ling Zhou
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne


Female invention participation has steadily grown in the U.S. over the past few decades, but the gender innovation gap remains substantial. This growth in participation corresponds with an overall increase in female labor force participation and changes in maternity leave policies. Using inventor data from patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, this paper seeks to evaluate the impact of maternity leave policies on the careers of female inventors in terms of exit decisions, productivity and creativity. Our findings suggest that unpaid family leave promotes the retention of female inventors, and we find varying results on paid family leave policies on increasing productivity and creativity.

Knockin' on the Bank's Door: Why is Self-Employment Going Down?

Alina Malkova
Florida Institute of Technology


This study analyzes a decline in the ability to obtain financing as a potential explanation for the decrease in U.S. self-employment. The shrinking of the U.S. bank branch network since 2010 reduces the accessibility of credit institutions for borrowers. To evaluate the impact of the bank branch closings, I use a shift-share style research design to assess the exit from self-employment using zip-code variation in preexisting bank market shares. I disaggregate the self-employed into two categories: entrepreneurs whose businesses depend on business loans (incorporated self-employed) and other self-employed (unincorporated self-employed). Using a novel data source (the Community Advantage Panel Survey database), I find that the proximity of credit market institutions has heterogeneous effects on the transition out of self-employment. Branch closings lead to the decline of incorporated business owners and do not affect unincorporated businesses, but these effects are short-term and very localized.

Earnings Are Greater and Increasing in Occupations That Require Intellectual Tenacity

Christos Makridis
Stanford University


Automation and technology are rapidly disrupting the labor market. We investigated changes in the returns to occupational personality requirements---the ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving that are required to succeed in a given occupation---and discuss the implications for organizational strategy. Using job incumbent ratings from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Information Network (O*NET), we identify two broad occupational personality requirements, which we label intellectual tenacity and social adjustment. Intellectual tenacity encompasses achievement/effort, persistence, initiative, analytical thinking, innovation, and independence. Social adjustment encompasses emotion regulation, concern for others, social orientation, cooperation, and stress tolerance. Both occupational personality requirements relate similarly to occupational employment growth between 2007 and 2019. However, among over 10 million respondents to the American Community Survey, jobs requiring intellectual tenacity pay higher wages---even when controlling for occupational cognitive ability requirements---and the earnings premium grew over this 13-year period. Results are robust to controlling for education, demographics, and industry effects, suggesting that organizations should pay at least as much attention to personality in the hiring and retention process as skills.

Sarah H. Bana
Chapman University
JEL Classifications
  • J0 - General
  • J1 - Demographic Economics