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Return to work after childbirth: does parental leave matter in Europe?

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  • Pronzato, Chiara
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    Abstract

    The aim of this paper is to investigate the role of the extended parental leave in the return to work for mothers of newborn children. Parental leaves have been introduced in the last 30 years in all European countries in order to extend the period of job-protection, allowing both parents to care for the child after the maternity leave period has expired. In this paper, I exploit the variability in policies offered by the EU countries, in terms of length of the leave and payments, and I study the influence of statutory leaves on the probability of staying at home with the child during the leave, and on the probability of working in the period of time following the leave. Using data from ECHP, I select women who have a child in the years of the survey, who have worked before, and I follow them over time. After studying the determinants of the return to work in each country separately, I generalize the results, matching women with similar human capital characteristics and fertility history from different countries and, consequently, under different parental leave regulations. Results suggest that the right to long and paid leaves gives mothers the opportunity to remain at home with the child at a lower cost, and that lengthy statutory leaves are associated with being more likely to be at work in the period following the leave.

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    Paper provided by Institute for Social and Economic Research in its series ISER Working Paper Series with number 2007-30.

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    Date of creation: 22 Nov 2007
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    Publication status: published
    Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2007-30

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    1. Siv S. Gustafsson & Shirley Dex & Cécile M. M. P. Wetzels & Jan Dirk Vlasblom, 1996. "Women`s labor force transitions in connection with childbirth: A panel data comparison between Germany, Sweden and Great Britain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 223-246.
    2. Ronsen, Marit & Sundstrom, Marianne, 1996. "Maternal Employment in Scandinavia: A Comparison of the After-Birth Employment Activity of Norwegian and Swedish Women," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 267-85, August.
    3. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," NBER Working Papers 7666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Charles L. Baum II, 2003. "Does Early Maternal Employment Harm Child Development? An Analysis of the Potential Benefits of Leave Taking," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 381-408, April.
    5. Susanne James-Burdumy, 2005. "The Effect of Maternal Labor Force Participation on Child Development," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 177-211, January.
    6. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-38, May.
    7. Marit RÃnsen & Marianne SundstrÃm, 1996. "Maternal employment in Scandinavia: A comparison of the after-birth employment activity of Norwegian and Swedish women," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 267-285.
    8. Lancaster, Tony, 1979. "Econometric Methods for the Duration of Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 47(4), pages 939-56, July.
    9. Gutierrez-Domenech, Maria, 2005. "Employment after motherhood: a European comparison," Labour Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 99-123, February.
    10. Yoshio Higuchi & Jane Waldfogel & Masahiro Abe, 1999. "Family leave policies and women's retention after childbirth: Evidence from the United States, Britain, and Japan," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 523-545.
    11. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1998. "The Economic Consequences Of Parental Leave Mandates: Lessons From Europe," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 113(1), pages 285-317, February.
    12. Jérôme De Henau & Danièle Meulders & Sile Padraigin O'Dorchai, 2007. "Parents' care and career: comparing parental leave policies," ULB Institutional Repository, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles 2013/9277, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    13. Burdett, Kenneth & Kiefer, Nicholas M. & Sharma, Sunil, 1985. "Layoffs and duration dependence in a model of turnover," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 51-69, April.
    14. Lawrence M. Berger & Jane Waldfogel, 2004. "Maternity leave and the employment of new mothers in the United States," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 331-349, 06.
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    Cited by:
    1. Julie L. Hotchkiss & M. Melinda Pitts & Mary Beth Walker, 2011. "To work or not to work: the economics of a mother's dilemma," Working Paper, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta 2011-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    2. Natálie Švarcová & Petr Švarc, 2009. "The Financial Impact of Government Policies on Families with Children in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia," Czech Economic Review, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, vol. 3(1), pages 048-068, March.
    3. Lia Pacelli & Silvia Pasqua & Claudia Villosio, 2008. "What does the stork bring to women's working career?," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies 78, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
    4. Julia Bredtmann & Jochen Kluve & Sandra Schaffner, 2009. "Women's Fertility and Employment Decisions under Two Political Systems - Comparing East and West Germany before Reunification," Ruhr Economic Papers, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen 0149, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    5. repec:ese:iserwp:2008-22 is not listed on IDEAS

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