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The effects of maternity leave on children's birth and infant health outcomes in the United States

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  • Rossin, Maya
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    Abstract

    This paper evaluates the impacts of unpaid maternity leave provisions of the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) on children's birth and infant health outcomes in the United States. My identification strategy uses variation in pre-FMLA maternity leave policies across states and variation in which firms are covered by FMLA provisions. Using Vital Statistics data and difference-in-difference-in-difference methodology, I find that maternity leave led to small increases in birth weight, decreases in the likelihood of a premature birth, and substantial decreases in infant mortality for children of college-educated and married mothers, who were most able to take advantage of unpaid leave. My results are robust to the inclusion of numerous controls for maternal, child, and county characteristics, state, year, and month fixed effects, and state-year interactions, as well as across several different specifications.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V8K-51YYNV7-2/2/142548cf4c71f3c25fc7d64fbe0db96b
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

    Volume (Year): 30 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (March)
    Pages: 221-239

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:30:y:2011:i:2:p:221-239

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

    Related research

    Keywords: Family and medical leave act Maternity leave Infant health Health disparities;

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    Cited by:
    1. Charles L. Baum & Christopher J. Ruhm, 2013. "The Effects of Paid Family Leave in California on Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 19741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Mark E. McGovern, 2012. "Still unequal at birth: birth weight, socioeconomic status and outcomes at age 9," Working Papers 201222, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.

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