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

Author

Listed:
  • Danzer, Natalia

    (Free University of Berlin)

  • Halla, Martin

    (University of Linz)

  • Schneeweis, Nicole

    (University of Linz)

  • Zweimüller, Martina

    (University of Linz)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Danzer, Natalia & Halla, Martin & Schneeweis, Nicole & Zweimüller, Martina, 2017. "Parental Leave, (In)formal Childcare and Long-term Child Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 10812, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10812
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Chuard, Caroline, 2020. "Womb at work: The missing impact of maternal employment on newborn health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C).
    2. Ahammer, Alexander & Halla, Martin & Schneeweis, Nicole, 2020. "The effect of prenatal maternity leave on short and long-term child outcomes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
    3. Canaan, Serena, 2019. "Parental Leave, Household Specialization and Children's Well-Being," IZA Discussion Papers 12420, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Frimmel, Wolfgang & Halla, Martin & Schmidpeter, Bernhard & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 2017. "Grandmothers’ Labor Supply," Economics Series 336, Institute for Advanced Studies.
    5. Katrin Huber, 2019. "Changes in parental leave and young children’s non-cognitive skills," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 89-119, March.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    maternal labor supply; child development; informal childcare; formal childcare; parental leave; fertility;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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