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The effect of prenatal maternity leave on short and long-term child outcomes

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  • Ahammer, Alexander
  • Halla, Martin
  • Schneeweis, Nicole

Abstract

Maternity leave policies are designed to safeguard the health of pregnant workers and their unborn children. We evaluate a maternity leave extension in Austria which increased mandatory prenatal leave from 6 to 8 weeks. We exploit that the assignment to the extended leave was determined by a cutoff date. We find no evidence for significant effects of this extension on children's health at birth or long-term health and labor market outcomes. Subsequent maternal health and fertility are also unaffected. We conclude that employment during the 33rd and 34th week of gestation is not harmful for expecting mothers (without major problems in pregnancy) and their unborn children.

Suggested Citation

  • Ahammer, Alexander & Halla, Martin & Schneeweis, Nicole, 2020. "The effect of prenatal maternity leave on short and long-term child outcomes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:70:y:2020:i:c:s0167629619300773
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2019.102250
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    Cited by:

    1. Chuard, Caroline, 2020. "Womb at work: The missing impact of maternal employment on newborn health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C).
    2. Fabel, Marc, 2021. "Maternity leave and children's health outcomes in the long-term," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    3. Shirlee Lichtman-Sadot & Neta Benshalom-Tirosh & Eyal Sheiner, 2020. "Conflict, Rockets, and Birth Outcomes: Evidence from Israel’s Operation Protective Edge," Working Papers 2009, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.
    4. Lichtman-Sadot, Shirlee & Benshalom-Tirosh, Neta & Sheiner, Eyal, 2020. "Conflict, Rockets, and Birth Outcomes: Evidence from Israel's Operation Protective Edge," IZA Discussion Papers 13394, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Maternity leave; Fetal origins hypothesis; Infant health; Birth outcomes; Birth weight; Long-term child outcomes; Fertility;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • J83 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Workers' Rights
    • J88 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Public Policy

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