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What Is the Case for Paid Maternity Leave?

Author

Listed:
  • Gordon B. Dahl

    (University of California San Diego)

  • Katrine V. Løken

    (University of Bergen)

  • Magne Mogstad

    (University of Chicago, Statistics Norway, and NBER)

  • Kari Vea Salvanes

    (University of Oslo)

Abstract

We assess the case for generous government-funded maternity leave, focusing on a series of policy reforms in Norway that expanded paid leave from 18 to 35 weeks. We find the reforms do not crowd out unpaid leave and that mothers spend more time at home without a reduction in family income. The increased maternity leave has little effect on children's schooling, parental earnings and labor force participation, completed fertility, marriage, or divorce. The expansions, whose net costs amounted to 0.25% of GDP, have negative redistribution properties and imply a considerable increases in taxes at a cost to economic efficiency.

Suggested Citation

  • Gordon B. Dahl & Katrine V. Løken & Magne Mogstad & Kari Vea Salvanes, 2016. "What Is the Case for Paid Maternity Leave?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(4), pages 655-670, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:98:y:2016:i:4:p:655-670
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2010. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 281-355, June.
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    5. Tarjei Havnes & Magne Mogstad, 2011. "No Child Left Behind: Subsidized Child Care and Children's Long-Run Outcomes," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 97-129, May.
    6. Blundell, Richard & Graber, Michael & Mogstad, Magne, 2015. "Labor income dynamics and the insurance from taxes, transfers, and the family," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 58-73.
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    8. Yoshio Higuchi & Jane Waldfogel & Masahiro Abe, 1999. "Family leave policies and women's retention after childbirth: Evidence from the United States, Britain, and Japan," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 12(4), pages 523-545.
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    10. Michael Baker & Kevin Milligan, 2008. "How Does Job-Protected Maternity Leave Affect Mothers' Employment?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(4), pages 655-691, October.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Paid maternity leave; child development; maternal employment; gender equality;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • H42 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Private Goods

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