Salaries, in Italy in 2023 paternity bonus of 4.7% on the pay slip

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Men who become fathers earn more. Fathers see their income increase compared to that of their childless colleagues. This difference is evident from the beginning of the career path, observing the salary of graduates five years after obtaining the degree.

In 2023 the average net monthly salary of male graduates was on average equal to 1,872 euros, but it rises to 1,956 euros for graduates with children and drops to 1,868 euros for graduates without children. Similarly, in 2022, for all male graduates the average salary of 1,799 euros rises to 1,860 if graduates with children are considered, and drops to 1,795 for those without children. The premium for fatherhood is therefore 4.7% in 2023 and 3.6% in 2022: this percentage is consistent with what is reported in the literature that studies the economic causes of this premium, causes which are not in themselves evident, given that fatherhood does not appear to have any direct link to productivity.

The motivations

The increase in pay for fathers could arise from the fact that fatherhood induces men to increase their work commitment, for example, making themselves available for overtime or travel. This behavior has been observed especially among married fathers whose wives reduce their hours or end their employment relationship.

Numerous empirical research conducted in the United States find paternity bonuses which vary from 3 to 10%; for example, researcher Alexandra Killewald observes an increase in fathers’ wages of 4%, and notes that the consistency of the bonus is greater the more the biological ties, cohabitation with the child and marriage with the child’s mother are strengthened each other. It is also interesting to note that when their wives work full time, fathers do not receive any statistically significant wage premium.

Some studies have sought confirmation of the fact that the paternity premium could derive from a mere selection effect: as for marriage, also for paternity, it is the men with the highest salaries who are most likely to get married and become fathers, at least in the case where their personal characteristics such as loyalty and commitment are valued similarly by employers and potential partners. Ignoring or not adequately correcting for this selection effect would lead to an overestimation of fatherhood wage premiums.

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