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Can Family Policy Reduce Mothers’ Sick Leave Absence? A Causal Analysis of the Norwegian Paternity Leave Reform

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  • Elisabeth Ugreninov

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Abstract

This paper was motivated by the high absentee rate due to sickness among women and the assumption that mothers’ combination of gainful employment and family obligations may results in higher levels of sick leave absence. One popular policy used in Norway to encourage more equal sharing of domestic work between parents is paternity leave. Using Norwegian register data, we took advantage of the introduction of a Norwegian paternity leave reform in 1993 to empirically examine the importance of fathers’ involvement in childcare an attempt to explain the relationship between mothers’ stress in reconciling their work and family life and sick leave absence. Sick leave absence was measured in the number of days paid by the National Insurance Administration at 15 days and above. The reform raised the total leave period by 7 weeks, but reserved 4 weeks for the father. The reform process was fast, so all mothers were already pregnant at the time of the policy announcement. The results indicate that we can reject an effect of the paternity leave reform on mothers’ sick leave absence. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Elisabeth Ugreninov, 2013. "Can Family Policy Reduce Mothers’ Sick Leave Absence? A Causal Analysis of the Norwegian Paternity Leave Reform," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 34(4), pages 435-446, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jfamec:v:34:y:2013:i:4:p:435-446
    DOI: 10.1007/s10834-012-9344-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sara Cools & Jon H. Fiva & Lars J. Kirkebøen, 2015. "Causal Effects of Paternity Leave on Children and Parents," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 117(3), pages 801-828, July.
    2. Ekberg, John & Eriksson, Rickard & Friebel, Guido, 2013. "Parental leave — A policy evaluation of the Swedish “Daddy-Month” reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 131-143.
    3. Rege, Mari & Solli, Ingebor F, 2010. "The impact of paternity leave on long-term father involvement," UiS Working Papers in Economics and Finance 2010/4, University of Stavanger.
    4. Lyn Craig, 2007. "How Employed Mothers in Australia Find Time for Both Market Work and Childcare," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 69-87, March.
    5. Mastekaasa, Arne, 2000. "Parenthood, gender and sickness absence," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 50(12), pages 1827-1842, June.
    6. Sarah Estes & Mary Noonan & David Maume, 2007. "Is Work-Family Policy Use Related to the Gendered Division of Housework?," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 527-545, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Xiaoling Ang, 2015. "The Effects of Cash Transfer Fertility Incentives and Parental Leave Benefits on Fertility and Labor Supply: Evidence from Two Natural Experiments," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 263-288, June.

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