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Labour market effects of parental leave in Europe


  • Yusuf Emre Akgunduz
  • Janneke Plantenga


We investigate the aggregate-level effects of parental leave legislation on various labour market outcomes of women in 16 European countries for the period between 1970 and 2010. The paper updates and extends previous findings in the literature. The results show increases in participation rates that diminish with length and generosity of leave schemes. While pure participation numbers may not increase dramatically, there is strong evidence of increases in weekly working hours. On the other hand, a decrease in wages for high-skilled women and amplified occupational segregation are possible results of long parental leave schemes. We conclude with a discussion of the recent debates over extending minimum maternity and parental leave rights on the European level. Copyright , Oxford University Press.

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  • Yusuf Emre Akgunduz & Janneke Plantenga, 2013. "Labour market effects of parental leave in Europe," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(4), pages 845-862.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:37:y:2013:i:4:p:845-862

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Christian Dustmann & Costas Meghir, 2005. "Wages, Experience and Seniority," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 77-108.
    4. Ondrich, Jan & Spiess, C Katharina & Yang, Qing, 1996. "Barefoot and in a German Kitchen: Federal Parental Leave and Benefit Policy and the Return to Work after Childbirth in Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 9(3), pages 247-266, August.
    5. Blank, Rebecca M, 1989. "The Role of Part-Time Work in Women's Labor Market Choices over Time," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 295-299, May.
    6. Chiara Pronzato, 2009. "Return to work after childbirth: does parental leave matter in Europe?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 341-360, December.
    7. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1998. "The Economic Consequences of Parental Leave Mandates: Lessons from Europe," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 285-317.
    8. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "Gender Differences in Pay," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 75-99, Fall.
    9. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Nina Smith & Mette Verner, 2008. "PERSPECTIVE ARTICLE: The impact of Nordic countries’ family friendly policies on employment, wages, and children," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 65-89, March.
    10. Anne Gauthier, 2007. "The impact of family policies on fertility in industrialized countries: a review of the literature," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 26(3), pages 323-346, June.
    11. Rafael Lalive & Josef Zweimüller, 2009. "How Does Parental Leave Affect Fertility and Return to Work? Evidence from Two Natural Experiments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1363-1402.
    12. Jane Waldfogel, 1998. "Understanding the "Family Gap" in Pay for Women with Children," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 137-156, Winter.
    13. Jérôme De Henau & Danièle Meulders & Sile Padraigin O'Dorchai, 2007. "Parents' care and career: comparing parental leave policies," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9277, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    14. Hans-Werner Sinn, 2004. "The New Systems Competition," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 5(1), pages 23-38, February.
    15. Bianca Buligescu & Denis de Crombrugghe & Gülçin Menteşoğlu & Raymond Montizaan, 2009. "Panel estimates of the wage penalty for maternal leave," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(suppl_1), pages 35-55, April.
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    1. repec:zbw:espost:167709 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Bicakova, Alena & Kaliskova, Klara, 2016. "Career Breaks after Childbirth: The Impact of Family Leave Reforms in the Czech Republic," IZA Discussion Papers 10149, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Gehringer, Agnieszka & Klasen, Stephan, 2015. "Labor force participation of women in the EU - What role do family policies play?," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 242, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    4. repec:eee:wdevel:v:96:y:2017:i:c:p:102-118 is not listed on IDEAS

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