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The economic impact of taking short parental leave: Evaluation of a French reform


  • Joseph, Olivier
  • Pailhé, Ariane
  • Recotillet, Isabelle
  • Solaz, Anne


There is a growing debate in Europe about whether parental leave should be short or long. The paper evaluates the impact of short parental leave on mothers' employment status and subsequent wages, with a special focus on the part-time parental leave option. It exploits a policy reform that took place in 2004 in France and increased the incentive to prolong the maternity leave after the first birth by six months paid parental leave. Data from the fourth round of the “Generation 98 survey” (CEREQ) and both difference-in-differences and propensity score matching approaches are used to estimate the effect of the reform. The results show that full-time short paid parental leave had almost no effect on labour market participation and wages of first mothers at the global level. However, for part-time paid leave takers, the reform increases the employment rate but decreases the subsequent wages. The wages remain lower two years after child birth, especially for the most educated, who mainly choose the part-time option.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph, Olivier & Pailhé, Ariane & Recotillet, Isabelle & Solaz, Anne, 2013. "The economic impact of taking short parental leave: Evaluation of a French reform," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 63-75.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:25:y:2013:i:c:p:63-75
    DOI: 10.1016/j.labeco.2013.04.012

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:iae:iaewps:wp2016n9 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Broadway, Barbara & Kalb, Guyonne & McVicar, Duncan & Martin, Bill, 2016. "The Impact of Paid Parental Leave on Labour Supply and Employment Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 9801, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Givord, Pauline & Marbot, Claire, 2015. "Does the cost of child care affect female labor market participation? An evaluation of a French reform of childcare subsidies," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 99-111.

    More about this item


    Parental leave; Labour force participation; Wages; Mother; Part-time; Family policy;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy


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