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Does the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Increase Fertility Behavior?

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  • Colin Cannonier

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Abstract

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), implemented in August 1993, grants job-protected leave to any employee satisfying the eligibility criteria. One of the provisions of the FMLA is to allow women to stay at home for a maximum period of 12 weeks to give care to the newborn. The effect of this legislation on the fertility response of eligible women has received little attention by researchers. This study analyzes whether the FMLA has influenced birth outcomes in the U.S. Specifically, I evaluate the effect of the FMLA by comparing the changes in the birth hazard profiles of women who became eligible for FMLA benefits such as maternity leave, to the changes in the control group who were not eligible for such leave. Using a discrete-time hazard model, results from the difference-in-differences estimation indicate that eligible women increase the probability of having a first and second birth by about 1.5 and 0.6 % per annum, respectively. Compared to other women, eligible women are giving birth to the first child a year earlier and about 8.5 months earlier for the second child. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jlabre:v:35:y:2014:i:2:p:105-132
    DOI: 10.1007/s12122-014-9181-9
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Andrei Barbos & Stefani Milovanska-Farrington, 2019. "The Effect of Maternity Leave Expansions on Fertility Intentions: Evidence from Switzerland," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 323-337, September.
    3. Anthony A. Noce & Dhimtri Qirjo & Namini De Silva, 2016. "Enticing the Stork: Can we Evaluate Pro-Natal Policies Before Having Children?," Economic Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(2), pages 184-202, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Family and medical leave act; FMLA; Fertility; Births; Hazard models; Maternity leave; Difference-in-differences; I18; J00; J13; J18;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

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