The child penalty in same-sex and different-sex couples in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden


Speaker:Ylva Moberg , Swedish Institute for Social Research
Date: Friday 8 October 2021
Time: 14:00
Location: online

Further details

This paper analyzes the child penalty by comparing same-sex and different-sex couples in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, using the largest samples of same-sex and different-sex couples to date. The countries in focus were among the first to legally recognize same-sex parenthood and are known as family-friendly, enabling parents to taket long job-protected parental leaves. We follow parents’ income trajectories from 3 years before to 5 years after they transition to parenthood, from 2002 to 2018. Using an event study approach and a matching strategy, results show that differences in income pre-childbirth do not explain income trajectories after couples transition to parenthood, providing little evidence for specialization theory. The social construction of gender and identity theory both receive support as birth mothers (i.e. biological mothers) in both groups experience the greatest child penalties and the income gap remains larger in different-sex compared to same-sex couples five years after childbirth.


Online via Zoom (link available from