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The Effect of Prenatal Maternity Leave on Short and Long-Term Child Outcomes

Author

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  • Ahammer, Alexander

    () (University of Linz)

  • Halla, Martin

    () (University of Linz)

  • Schneeweis, Nicole

    () (University of Linz)

Abstract

Maternity leave policies are presumed to be essential to ensure the health of pregnant workers and their unborn children. However, little is known about the optimal duration of prenatal maternity leave and existing policies are not evidence-based. We evaluate a substantial maternity leave extension in Austria, which increased mandatory leave prior to birth from six to eight weeks. Our estimation strategy exploits that the eligibility for the extended leave was determined by a cutoff due date. As an additional source of exogenous variation, we use information on non-working mothers, who are not eligible for maternity leave. Across estimations, we consistently find no evidence for significant effects of this extension on children's health at birth, subsequent maternal health and fertility, and longterm human capital outcomes of children. Our finding is confirmed by a supplementary cross-country panel analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Ahammer, Alexander & Halla, Martin & Schneeweis, Nicole, 2018. "The Effect of Prenatal Maternity Leave on Short and Long-Term Child Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 11394, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11394
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gordon B. Dahl & Katrine V. Løken & Magne Mogstad & Kari Vea Salvanes, 2016. "What Is the Case for Paid Maternity Leave?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(4), pages 655-670, October.
    2. 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.
    3. Danzer, Natalia & Halla, Martin & Schneeweis, Nicole & Zweimüller, Martina, 2017. "Parental Leave, (In)formal Childcare and Long-term Child Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 10812, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Halla, Martin & Pruckner, Gerald J. & Schober, Thomas, 2016. "Cost savings of developmental screenings: Evidence from a nationwide program," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 120-135.
    5. Bharadwaj, Prashant & Johnsen, Julian V. & Løken, Katrine V., 2014. "Smoking bans, maternal smoking and birth outcomes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 72-93.
    6. 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.
    7. Stearns, Jenna, 2015. "The effects of paid maternity leave: Evidence from Temporary Disability Insurance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 85-102.
    8. Rossin, Maya, 2011. "The effects of maternity leave on children's birth and infant health outcomes in the United States," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 221-239, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    maternity leave; infant health; birth outcomes; birth weight; fertility;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • J83 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Workers' Rights
    • J88 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Public Policy

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