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The duration of paid parental leave and children’s scholastic performance

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Author Info

  • Liu, Qian

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Uppsala University)

  • Nordström Skans, Oskar

    ()
    (IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation)

Abstract

We study how the duration of paid parental leave affects the accumulation of cognitive skills among children. We use a reform which extended parental leave benefits from 12 to 15 months for Swedish children born after August 1988 to evaluate the effects of prolonged parental leave on children’s test scores and grades at age 16. We show that, on average, the reform had no effect on children’s scholastic performance. However, we do find positive effects for children of well-educated mothers, a result that is robust to a number of different specifications. We find no corresponding heterogeneity relative to parental earnings or fathers’ education, or relative to other predictors of child performance. We find no effects on intermediate outcomes such as mothers’ subsequent earnings, child health, parental fertility, divorce rates, or the mothers’ mental health. Overall the results suggest positive causal interaction effects between mothers’ education and the amount of time mothers spend with their children. Since the institutional context is one in which the alternative is subsidized day care, the results imply that subsidizing longer parental leave spells rather than day care reinforce the relationship between maternal education and school outcomes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy in its series Working Paper Series with number 2009:14.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: 09 Jun 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2009_014

Contact details of provider:
Postal: IFAU, P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Phone: (+46) 18 - 471 70 70
Fax: (+46) 18 - 471 70 71
Email:
Web page: http://www.ifau.se/
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Keywords: Maternal employment; Education; Human capital; Cognitive skills;

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References

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  1. Pettersson-Lidbom, Per & Skogman Thoursie, Peter, 2009. "Does child spacing affect children’s outcomes? Evidence from a Swedish reform," Working Paper Series 2009:7, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  2. Heckman, James J., 2000. "Policies to foster human capital," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 3-56, March.
  3. Lalive, Rafael & Zweimüller, Josef, 2005. "Does Parental Leave Affect Fertility and Return-to-Work? Evidence from a "True Natural Experiment"," IZA Discussion Papers 1613, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Björklund, Anders & Lindahl, Mikael & Plug, Erik, 2005. "The Origins of Intergenerational Associations: Lessons from Swedish Adoption Data," IZA Discussion Papers 1739, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Schildberg-Hoerisch, Hannah, 2011. "Does parental employment affect children's educational attainment?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1456-1467.
  6. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2008. "Universal Child Care, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 709-745, 08.
  7. 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, vol. 21(2), pages 381-408, April.
  8. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J., 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 2550, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Fredriksson, Peter & Öckert, Björn, 2005. "Is Early Learning Really More Productive? The Effect of School Starting Age on School and Labor Market Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 1659, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Sakiko Tanaka, 2005. "Parental leave and child health across OECD countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(501), pages F7-F28, 02.
  11. Åslund, Olof & Grönqvist, Hans, 2007. "Family size and child outcomes: Is there really no trade-off?," Working Paper Series 2007:15, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  12. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1998. "Parental Leave and Child Health," NBER Working Papers 6554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Carneiro, Pedro & Loken, Katrine Vellesen & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2011. "A Flying Start? Maternity Leave Benefits and Long Run Outcomes of Children," IZA Discussion Papers 5793, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J., 2003. "Human Capital Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 821, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Liu, Haiyong & Mroz, Thomas A. & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2010. "Maternal employment, migration, and child development," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 156(1), pages 212-228, May.
  16. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," NBER Working Papers 7666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Dustmann, Christian & Schönberg, Uta, 2008. "The Effect of Expansions in Maternity Leave Coverage on Children's Long-Term Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 3605, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Paul Gregg & Elizabeth Washbrook & Carol Propper & Simon Burgess, 2005. "The Effects of a Mother's Return to Work Decision on Child Development in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(501), pages F48-F80, 02.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Michael Baker & Kevin S. Milligan, 2011. "Maternity Leave and Children’s Cognitive and Behavioral Development," NBER Working Papers 17105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Maya Rossin-Slater & Christopher J. Ruhm & Jane Waldfogel, 2011. "The Effects of California’s Paid Family Leave Program on Mothers’ Leave-Taking and Subsequent Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 17715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Adda, Jérôme & Björklund, Anders & Holmlund, Helena, 2011. "The Role of Mothers and Fathers in Providing Skills: Evidence from Parental Deaths," IZA Discussion Papers 5425, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Björklund, Anders & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2010. "Education and Family Background: Mechanisms and Policies," IZA Discussion Papers 5002, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Natalia Danzer & Victor Lavy, 2013. "Parental Leave and Children’s Schooling Outcomes: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from a Large Parental Leave Reform," NBER Working Papers 19452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Sara Cools & Jon H. Fiva & Lars Johannessen Kirkebøen, 2011. "Causal effects of paternity leave on children and parents," Discussion Papers 657, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  7. Carneiro, Pedro & Loken, Katrine Vellesen & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2010. "A Flying Start? Long Term Consequences of Maternal Time Investments in Children During Their First Year of Life," IZA Discussion Papers 5362, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Carneiro, Pedro & Loken, Katrine Vellesen & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2011. "A Flying Start? Maternity Leave Benefits and Long Run Outcomes of Children," IZA Discussion Papers 5793, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Geyer, Johannes & Haan, Peter & Spieß, C. Katharina & Wrohlich, Katharina, 2013. "Das Elterngeld und seine Wirkungen auf das Haushaltseinkommen junger Familien und die Erwerbstätigkeit von Müttern," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 193-211.
  10. Karimi, Arizo & Lindahl, Erica & Skogman Thoursie, Peter, 2012. "Labour Supply Responses to Paid Parental Leave," Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies 2012:20, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.

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