The ‘daddy bonus’ unavailable to hardworking moms: How men receive a 25% PAY RISE when they become fathers

By Annabel Fenwick Elliott

June 4, 2014


Men with children earn, on average, 25 percent more than childless men, according to a new report.

The CUNY study, which focused on New York City residents, revealed that the trend holds true across age, race, education level and even occupation; and has remained consistent over the 20 years of data studied, between 1990 and 2010.

These findings are in stark contrast with the proven ‘mommy tax’ phenomenon, whereby women with children tend to earn less than those without.

According to CUNY, mothers earn 41per cent less ($24,350) than fathers ($40,947), and also less than childless men ($29,904).

And while the mommy tax is often attributed to logistical factors such as women being unable to advance in the career while on maternity leave, or working fewer hours, it seems that the daddy bonus is more a product of bias.

‘There are some social psychologists who [describe] certain stereotypes about men with children – that they’re more warm, that they’re more devoted – all these sort of positive factors we attribute to dads,’ Justine Calcagno, a social psychologist and author of the study, told

One theory scientists have looked at which could account for the daddy bonus is that fathers are ‘deserving’ of better pay because they perform better; naturally striving harder for pay rises because they have children to provide for.

But researchers have put this to the test in several nifty experiments over the years, asking both male and female subjects to judge the fictitious files of men applying for jobs.

Even when the ‘fathers’ performed worse on paper than childless men, they were hired over them, found a 2004 report for the Journal of Social Issues.

Another report in 2007 for the American Journal of Sociology found the same result.

‘Applicants who were fathers were rated significantly more committed to their job than non-fathers’, it states.

‘Fathers were allowed to be late to work significantly more times than non-fathers.

Finally, they were offered significantly higher salaries than non-fathers.’

Ms Calcagno told the Wall Street Journal that she believes the biased pay gap could be attributed to positive stereotypes that have long been held about men with children – that they are more warm and devoted, for example.

On the other hand, negative stereotypes about women with children – that they are less focused and not as tough – may be one reason why employers are biasing in terms of their pay, says Ms Calcagno.


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