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Does the Length of Maternity Leave Affect Maternal Health?

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Author Info

  • Pinka Chatterji

    ()
    (Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research at Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School)

  • Sara Markowitz

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Rutgers University)

Abstract

The objective of this paper is to investigate the impact of the length of maternity leave on maternal health in a sample of working mothers. Two measures of depression and a measure of outpatient health visits are used to represent maternal health. Ordinary least squares models provide baseline estimates, and instrumental variables models account for the potential endogeneity of the return-to-work decision. The findings suggest that returning to work later is associated with a reduction in the number or frequency of depressive symptoms. There is suggestive but inconclusive evidence that longer maternity leave is associated with a lower probability of being a likely case of clinical depression and a lower likelihood of having frequent outpatient visits during the first six months after childbirth. These findings contribute to the literature on maternal leave policy, which focuses primarily on the benefits of leave for child health and development, by evaluating the influence of longer maternal leave on the health of mothers.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Southern Economic Association in its journal Southern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 72 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
Pages: 16–41

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Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:72:1:y:2005:p:16-41

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References

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  1. Michael Grossman, 1972. "The Demand for Health: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros72-1.
  2. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1998. "Parental Leave and Child Health," NBER Working Papers 6554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Gjerdingen, Dwenda K. & Debra, Froberg, 1991. "Predictors of health in new mothers," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 33(12), pages 1399-1407, January.
  4. Francine D. Blau & Adam J. Grossberg, 1990. "Maternal Labor Supply and Children's Cognitive Development," NBER Working Papers 3536, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Michael Baker & Kevin Milligan, 2005. "How Does Job-Protected Maternity Leave Affect Mothers' Employment and Infant Health?," NBER Working Papers 11135, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Pinka Chatterji & Sara Markowitz & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, 2011. "Early Maternal Employment and Family Wellbeing," NBER Working Papers 17212, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jane Waldfogel, 2004. "Social mobility, life chances, and the early years," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6302, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Herwig Immervoll & David Barber, 2005. "Can Parents Afford to Work?: Childcare Costs, Tax-Benefit Policies and Work Incentives," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 31, OECD Publishing.
  5. Charles L. Baum, II & Christopher J. Ruhm, 2013. "The Effects of Paid Family Leave in California on Labor Market Outcomes," Working Papers 201401, Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Economics and Finance.
  6. Wen-Jui Han & Christopher Ruhm & Jane Waldfogel, 2007. "Parental Leave Policies and Parents' Employment and Leave-Taking," NBER Working Papers 13697, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Würtz, Astrid, 2007. "The Long-Term Effect on Children of Increasing the Length of Parents' Birth-Related Leave," Working Papers 07-11, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  8. Hope Corman & Kelly Noonan & Nancy E. Reichman, 2005. "Mother's Labor Supply in Fragile Families: The Role of Child Health," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 601-616, Fall.
  9. Pinka Chatterji & Sara Markowitz, 2008. "Family Leave after Childbirth and the Health of New Mothers," NBER Working Papers 14156, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Jane Waldfogel, 2004. "Social Mobility, Life Chances, and the Early Years," CASE Papers 088, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
  11. Pinka Chatterji & Sara Markowitz & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, 2013. "Effects of early maternal employment on maternal health and well-being," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 285-301, January.

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