Gender Equality and Fertility in Sweden: A Study on the Impact of the Father’s Uptake of Parental Leave on Continued Childbearing
In Sweden, the birth of a child induces the right to more than one year of paid parental leave that can be shared between the parents. This paper examines the relationship between the father’s and the mother’s respective use of such leave and the continued childbearing of a couple. Our investigation is based on longitudinal information on registered parental-leave use and childbearing of all intact unions in Sweden during 1988-99. We analyze our data by means of event-history analysis. We expect an extended paternal involvement in childrearing to be positively associated with continued childbearing since it makes family building more compatible with the mother’s labor-force participation. In addition, such commitment to childrearing from the father’s side is likely to signal a higher interest of his for continued family building. Around 85 percent of fathers take some leave but in most cases episodes are brief. We find a positive effect of a father’s moderately long leave on a couple’s second- and third-birth propensity, but no such effect of a very long paternal leave.
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