Rachel Baxter

Date of Award

January 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Economics & Finance

First Advisor

David T. Flynn


The persistence of the gender wage gap in countries throughout the world has sparked several theories as to its cause and possible solutions. One theory centers on the decisions faced by a woman regarding children and fertility throughout her career. Typically, as the primary caregivers for children, women are more likely to interrupt their careers or leave the labor force entirely as a result. This thesis uses a fixed-effects model using a panel dataset of 18 countries with observations from 2000 to 2010 to evaluate whether paid maternity leave has an effect on the breadth of the gender wage gap. The effects of paid maternity leave on the gender wage gap has some policy implications, particularly for those countries like Australia, Denmark, and the United States which have not implemented paid maternity leave legislation.