The impact of having a child with special needs: Labour market adaptations of immigrant and majority mothers
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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This article compares how having a child with special needs shapes the labour market adaptations of immigrant and majority mothers. We use longitudinal data from Norwegian public registers including all women who gave birth between 2001 and 2005 (N¼104,988), and follow the mothers from two years before birth to four years after birth. We find generally large differences in employment and income among immigrant and majority mothers. Majority mothers typically adapt to the intensified care responsibilities associated with having a child with special needs by working somewhat less, but most importantly by combining work with high levels of long-term sickness absence. By contrast, immigrant mothers substantially reduce their work intensity (as measured through labour earnings) after childbirth regardless of whether their child has special needs. Among immigrant mothers whose child has special needs, we do not find elevated sickness absence levels comparable to that of majority mothers. Given the already reduced work intensity among immigrant mothers in the years following the birth of their child, we do not find additional labour market consequences of intensified care responsibilities within this group of mothers.