The child penalty in Sweden: evidence, trends, and child gender

Published: 09 July 2024

Author: Anton Sundberg, And

This paper examines the impact of parenthood on labor market outcomes for both men and women using population-wide annual income data from 1960 to 2021 in Sweden. First, I document the contemporary child penalties across several labor market outcomes. Second, I show that while the motherhood penalty in earnings declined significantly during the 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s, the rate of decline slowed from the late 1980s onwards. Third, I identify a fatherhood penalty emerging since the 1980s, particularly pronounced among men in more gender-egalitarian households (proxied by the father’s share of parental leave) and among fathers who have sons relative to daughters.


IFAU-Working paper 2024:12 "The child penalty in Sweden: evidence, trends, and child gender" is written by Anton Sundberg at IFAU and Uppsala University. For more information contact Anton Sundberg,