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Maternity Rights and Mothers' Return to Work

Author

Listed:
  • Simon Burgess
  • Paul Gregg
  • Carol Propper
  • Elizabeth Washbrook
  • ALSPAC Study Team

    ()

Abstract

In this paper we use the ALSPAC cohort of 12,000 births to examine the effect of maternity rights on mothers' post-birth return to employment decisions. We aim to disentangle the effects of the terms of maternity rights entitlements from the effects of other factors (such as household wealth, personal preferences and labour market opportunities) that influence the timing of a mother's return to work. We adopt a discrete hazard model with instrumental variables to estimate a counterfactual of what mothers with rights would have done in the absence of this legislation. Mothers with rights have an underlying (but unobserved) stronger attachment to the labour market which prompts earlier return than on average. Nevertheless, even when we take this into account we find a substantial impact of maternity rights on behaviour. Having rights induces around 20 per cent more women to return to their previous job before 7 months than would otherwise be the case. Women from lower skilled groups return disproportionately at the date at which maternity pay expires, while managerial and professional women tend to return at the expiry of unpaid leave.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Burgess & Paul Gregg & Carol Propper & Elizabeth Washbrook & ALSPAC Study Team, 2002. "Maternity Rights and Mothers' Return to Work," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 02/055, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  • Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:02/055
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    File URL: http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/CMPO/workingpapers/wp55.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jacobson, Louis S & LaLonde, Robert J & Sullivan, Daniel G, 1993. "Earnings Losses of Displaced Workers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 685-709, September.
    2. Jane Waldfogel, 1999. "The impact of the family and medical leave act," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(2), pages 281-302.
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    4. Louis S. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1993. "Long-term earnings losses of high-seniority displaced workers," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Nov, pages 2-20.
    5. Narendranathan, W & Stewart, Mark B, 1993. "How Does the Benefit Effect Vary as Unemployment Spells Lengthen?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(4), pages 361-381, Oct.-Dec..
    6. Henry S. Farber, 1993. "The Incidence and Costs of Job Loss: 1982-1991," Working Papers 688, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    7. Gregg, Paul & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 2000. "Mind the Gap, Please: The Changing Nature of Entry Jobs in Britain," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 67(268), pages 499-524, November.
    8. Waldfogel, Jane, 1998. "The Family Gap for Young Women in the United States and Britain: Can Maternity Leave Make a Difference?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(3), pages 505-545, July.
    9. repec:fth:prinin:309 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    government policy; welfare; child care; labor supply;

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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