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Parental Leave, (In)formal Childcare and Long-term Child Outcomes

Listed author(s):
  • Danzer, Natalia

    ()

    (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

  • Halla, Martin

    ()

    (University of Linz)

  • Schneeweis, Nicole

    ()

    (University of Linz)

  • Zweimüller, Martina

    ()

    (University of Linz)

We provide a novel interpretation of the estimated treatment effects from evaluations of parental leave reforms. Accounting for the counterfactual mode of care is crucial in the analysis of child outcomes and potential mediators. We evaluate a large and generous parental leave extension in Austria exploiting a sharp birthday cutoff-based discontinuity in the eligibility for extended parental leave and geographical variation in formal childcare. We find that estimated treatment effects on long-term child outcomes differ substantially according to the availability of formal childcare and the mother's counterfactual work behavior. We show that extending parental leave has significant positive effects on children's health and human capital outcomes only if the reform induces a replacement of informal childcare with maternal care. We conclude that care provided by mothers (or formal institutions) is superior to informal care-arrangements.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp10812.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 10812.

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Length: 62 pages
Date of creation: May 2017
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10812
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  1. Nicole Schneeweis & Martina Zweimüller, 2014. "Early Tracking and the Misfortune of Being Young," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 116(2), pages 394-428, 04.
  2. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2008. "Universal Child Care, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 709-745, 08.
  3. Raquel Bernal & Michael P. Keane, 2011. "Child Care Choices and Children's Cognitive Achievement: The Case of Single Mothers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(3), pages 459-512.
  4. Patrick Kline & Christopher R. Walters, 2016. "Evaluating Public Programs with Close Substitutes: The Case of HeadStart," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(4), pages 1795-1848.
  5. Michael Baker & Kevin Milligan, 2015. "Maternity leave and children’s cognitive and behavioral development," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(2), pages 373-391, April.
  6. Michael J. Kottelenberg & Steven F. Lehrer, 2017. "Targeted or Universal Coverage? Assessing Heterogeneity in the Effects of Universal Child Care," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(3), pages 609-653.
  7. Grace E. Noboa-Hidalgo & Sergio S. Urzúa, 2012. "The Effects of Participation in Public Child Care Centers: Evidence from Chile," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(1), pages 1-34.
  8. Pedro Carneiro & Katrine V. Løken & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2015. "A Flying Start? Maternity Leave Benefits and Long-Run Outcomes of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 123(2), pages 365-412.
  9. Rafael Lalive & Analía Schlosser & Andreas Steinhauer & Josef Zweimüller, 2014. "Parental Leave and Mothers' Careers: The Relative Importance of Job Protection and Cash Benefits," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(1), pages 219-265.
  10. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Simonsen, Marianne, 2010. "Non-cognitive child outcomes and universal high quality child care," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 30-43, February.
  11. Michael Baker & Kevin Milligan, 2010. "Evidence from Maternity Leave Expansions of the Impact of Maternal Care on Early Child Development," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(1).
  12. Rasmussen, Astrid Würtz, 2010. "Increasing the length of parents' birth-related leave: The effect on children's long-term educational outcomes," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 91-100, January.
  13. Herbst, Chris M., 2013. "The impact of non-parental child care on child development: Evidence from the summer participation “dip”," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 86-105.
  14. Christian Dustmann & Uta Schönberg, 2012. "Expansions in Maternity Leave Coverage and Children's Long-Term Outcomes," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 190-224, July.
  15. Jere R. Behrman & Yingmei Cheng & Petra E. Todd, 2004. "Evaluating Preschool Programs When Length of Exposure to the Program Varies: A Nonparametric Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 108-132, February.
  16. Fitzpatrick Maria D, 2008. "Starting School at Four: The Effect of Universal Pre-Kindergarten on Children's Academic Achievement," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-40, November.
  17. 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.
  18. Rafael Lalive & Josef Zweimüller, 2009. "How Does Parental Leave Affect Fertility and Return to Work? Evidence from Two Natural Experiments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1363-1402.
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