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Maternity leave in turbulent times: effects on labor market transitions and fertility in Russia, 1985-2000


  • Theodore P. Gerber
  • Brienna Perelli-Harris

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)


Maternity leave policies are designed to ease the tension between women’s employment and fertility, but whether they actually play such a role remains unclear. We analyze the individual-level effects of maternity leave on employment outcomes and on second conception rates among Russian first-time mothers from 1985-2000 using retrospective job and fertility histories from the Survey of Stratification and Migration Dynamics in Russia. During this period Russia experienced tremendous economic and political turbulence, which many observers believed would undermine policies like maternity leave and otherwise adversely affect the situation of women. Nevertheless, we find that maternity leave helped women maintain a foothold in the labor market, especially during the more turbulent post-transition period. Also, women who took extended leave in connection with their first birth had elevated rates of second conceptions once they returned to the workforce.

Suggested Citation

  • Theodore P. Gerber & Brienna Perelli-Harris, 2009. "Maternity leave in turbulent times: effects on labor market transitions and fertility in Russia, 1985-2000," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2009-028, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2009-028

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Z. Khotkina, 2001. "Female Unemployment and Informal Employment in Russia," Problems of Economic Transition, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(9), pages 20-33.
    2. Jan M. Hoem & Alexia Prskawetz & Gerda R. Neyer, 2001. "Autonomy or conservative adjustment? The effect of public policies and educational attainment on third births in Austria," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2001-016, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    3. Hans-Peter Kohler & Francesco C. Billari & José Antonio Ortega, 2002. "The Emergence of Lowest-Low Fertility in Europe During the 1990s," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(4), pages 641-680.
    4. Gerda R. Neyer & Gunnar Andersson, 2007. "Consequences of family policies on childbearing behavior: effects or artifacts?," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2007-021, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    5. Linz, S.J., 1993. "Gender Differences in the Russian Labour Market," Papers 9208, Michigan State - Econometrics and Economic Theory.
    6. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1998. "The Economic Consequences of Parental Leave Mandates: Lessons from Europe," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 285-317.
    7. Polachek, Solomon William, 1981. "Occupational Self-Selection: A Human Capital Approach to Sex Differences in Occupational Structure," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(1), pages 60-69, February.
    8. Sergei Zakharov, 2008. "Russian Federation: From the first to second demographic transition," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(24), pages 907-972, July.
    9. 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.
    10. Brienna Perelli-Harris, 2006. "The Influence of Informal Work and Subjective Well-Being on Childbearing in Post-Soviet Russia," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 32(4), pages 729-753.
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    More about this item


    Russian Federation; employment; fertility; maternity leave;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

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