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Parental Leave and Children’s Schooling Outcomes: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from a Large Parental Leave Reform

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  • Natalia Danzer
  • Victor Lavy

Abstract

This paper investigates the question whether long-term human capital outcomes are affected by the duration of maternity leave, i.e. by the time mothers spend at home with their newborn before returning to work. Employing RD and difference-in-difference approaches, this paper exploits an unanticipated reform in Austria which extended the maximum duration of paid and job protected parental leave from 12 to 24 months for children born on July 1, 1990 or later. We use test scores from the Austrian PISA test of birth cohorts 1990 and 1987 as measure of human capital. The evidence suggest no significant overall impact of the extended parental leave mandate on standardized test scores at age 15, but that the subgroup of boys of highly educated mothers have benefited from this reform while boys of low educated mothers were harmed by it.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19452.

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Date of creation: Sep 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19452

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  1. Michael Baker & Kevin Milligan, 2010. "Evidence from Maternity Leave Expansions of the Impact of Maternal Care on Early Child Development," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(1).
  2. Sakiko Tanaka, 2005. "Parental leave and child health across OECD countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(501), pages F7-F28, 02.
  3. Rasmussen, Astrid Würtz, 2010. "Increasing the length of parents' birth-related leave: The effect on children's long-term educational outcomes," Labour Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 91-100, January.
  4. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1998. "Parental Leave and Child Health," NBER Working Papers 6554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Raquel Bernal & Michael P. Keane, 2011. "Child Care Choices and Children’s Cognitive Achievement: The Case of Single Mothers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(3), pages 459 - 512.
  6. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2004. "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
  7. Michael Baker & Kevin S. Milligan, 2007. "Maternal employment, breastfeeding, and health: Evidence from maternity leave mandates," NBER Working Papers 13188, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Nicole Schneeweis & Martina Zweimüller, 2009. "Early tracking and the misfortune of being young," Economics working papers, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria 2009-11, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  10. Gennetian, Lisa A. & Hill, Heather D. & London, Andrew S. & Lopoo, Leonard M., 2010. "Maternal employment and the health of low-income young children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 353-363, May.
  11. Christian Dustmann & Uta Sch�nberg, 2012. "Expansions in Maternity Leave Coverage and Children's Long-Term Outcomes," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 190-224, July.
  12. Rafael Lalive & Josef Zweimüller, 2009. "How does Parental Leave Affect Fertility and Return to Work? Evidence from Two Natural Experiments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1363-1402, August.
  13. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2008. "Maternal employment and adolescent development," Labour Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 958-983, October.
  14. Liu, Qian & Nordström Skans, Oskar, 2009. "The Duration of Paid Parental Leave and Children's Scholastic Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 4244, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Neyer, Gerda, 2003. "Family Policies and Low Fertility in Western Europe," Discussion Paper, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University 161, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  16. 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.
  17. Morrill, Melinda Sandler, 2011. "The effects of maternal employment on the health of school-age children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 240-257, March.
  18. Gerda R. Neyer, 2003. "Family policies and low fertility in Western Europe," MPIDR Working Papers, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany WP-2003-021, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
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