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Does Maternity Leave Induce Births?

Author

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  • Susan L. Averett

    () (Lafayette College)

  • Leslie A. Whittington

    () (Georgetown Public Policy Institute, Georgetown University)

Abstract

Alleviating the tension between the conflicting responsibilities women may face as mothers and as workers is a topic of current policy interest. Expansion of guaranteed maternity leave to all employed women in the United States is suggested as one possible “family-friendly” solution. Controversy surrounding the issue of increased maternity leave centers around the potential cost to firms of widespread access to leave. One specific concern is that the availability of maternity leave will actually increase births among eligible working women. In this paper we use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to examine the impact of maternity leave on fertility. We explore two possible routes through which maternity leave may influence fertility. We first estimate the impact of desired fertility on the probability of being in a job offering maternity leave. We then estimate the impact of maternity leave and desired fertility on the probability of a birth. We find no evidence that women sort by fertility desires into firms on the basis of their maternity leave policy. We do find that the probability of a birth increases as a result of maternity leave, and that the fertility effect of maternity leave increases with birth parity.

Suggested Citation

  • Susan L. Averett & Leslie A. Whittington, 2001. "Does Maternity Leave Induce Births?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 403-417, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:68:2:y:2001:p:403-417
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Rafael Lalive & Josef Zweim�ller, "undated". "Does Parental Leave Affect Fertility and Return-to-Work? Evidence from a �True Natural Experiment�," IEW - Working Papers 242, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    2. Bassford, Micaela & Fisher, Hayley, 2016. "Bonus babies? The impact of paid parental leave on fertility intentions," Working Papers 2016-04, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
    3. Lalive, Rafael & Zweimüller, Josef, 2005. "Does Parental Leave Affect Fertility and Return-to-Work? Evidence from a "True Natural Experiment"," IZA Discussion Papers 1613, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Julie Hotchkiss & M. Pitts & Mary Walker, 2011. "Labor force exit decisions of new mothers," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 397-414, September.
    5. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2000. "Parental leave and child health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 931-960, November.
    6. Julie L. Hotchkiss & M. Melinda Pitts & Mary Beth Walker, 2010. "Assessing the impact of education and marriage on labor market exit decisions of women," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2010-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    7. Colin Cannonier, 2014. "Does the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Increase Fertility Behavior?," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 105-132, June.
    8. Hotchkiss, Julie L. & Pitts, M. Melinda & Walker, Mary Beth, 2011. "To work or not to work: the economics of a mother's dilemma," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2011-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    9. Joyce P. Jacobsen, 2009. "Accommodating Families," Chapters,in: Labor and Employment Law and Economics, chapter 11 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    10. Bellido, Héctor & Marcén, Miriam, 2011. "Divorce laws and fertility decisions," MPRA Paper 30243, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Mizuochi, Masaaki, 2012. "The Effect of Work-family Balance Policy on Childbirth and Women's Work," Discussion Paper Series 575, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.

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