Fathers' Leave, Fathers' Involvement and Child Development: Are They Related? Evidence from Four OECD Countries
AbstractPrevious research has shown that fathers taking some time off work around childbirth, especially periods of leave of 2 or more weeks, are more likely to be involved in childcare related activities than fathers who do not do so. Furthermore, evidence suggests that children with fathers who are ‘more involved’ perform better during the early years than their peers with less involved fathers. This paper analyses data of four OECD countries — Australia; Denmark; United Kingdom; United States — to describe how leave policies may influence father’s behaviours when children are young and whether their involvement translates into positive child cognitive and behavioural outcomes. This analysis shows that fathers’ leave, father’s involvement and child development are related. Fathers who take leave, especially those taking two weeks or more, are more likely to carry out childcare related activities when children are young. This study finds some evidence that children with highly involved fathers tend to perform better in terms of cognitive test scores. Evidence on the association between fathers’ involvement and behavioural outcomes was however weak. When data on different types of childcare activities was available, results suggest that the kind of involvement matters. These results suggest that what matters is the quality and not the quantity of father-child interactions.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers with number 140.
Date of creation: 14 Jan 2013
Date of revision:
United Kingdom; Denmark; United States; cognitive development; birth cohort studies; parental leave; paternity leave; fathers’ involvement; behavioural problems; Australia;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
- D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
- J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
- J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
- J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-03-16 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEM-2013-03-16 (Demographic Economics)
- NEP-NEU-2013-03-16 (Neuroeconomics)
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