Parental leave — A policy evaluation of the Swedish “Daddy-Month” reform
Many governments are making attempts to increase fathers' share of parental leave in order to correct for unequal labor market outcomes. Using Swedish data, we ask whether fathers can be encouraged to take more parental leave in order to mitigate the negative consequences of mothers' career interruptions. The unique data stem from a reform of parental leave, resulting in a clean natural experiment. Data comprise all children born before (control group) and after (treatment group) the date of implementation of the reform, in cohorts of up to 27,000 newborns, mothers and fathers. We find strong short-term effects of the incentives on male parental leave, but no behavioral effects in the household. Fathers in the treatment group do not take larger shares of the leave taken for care of sick children, which is our measure for household work. We also investigate a second data set on fathers' and mothers' long-term wages and employment, without finding evidence for substantial effects of the reform.
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