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September 1995, Vol. 118, No. 9

Effects of intermittent labor force attachment on women's earnings

Joyce P. Jacobsen
Professor of Economics, Wesleyan University

Laurence M. Levin
Associate at Cornerstone Research, Menlo Park, CA

Women who leave the labor market for family reasons often return to wages lower than those of women who did not; they lose seniority, are less likely to receive on-the-job training, their skills may depreciate, and employers may believe they will again take a leave. This article calculates the cost of taking a break from work in terms of the wage difference between women who work continuously and women who take one or more leaves.

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