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Maternity Leave Legislation, Female Labor Supply, and the Family Wage Gap

  • Schönberg, Uta

    ()

    (University College London)

  • Ludsteck, Johannes

    ()

    (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung)

This paper analyzes the impact of expansions in leave coverage on mothers’ labor market outcomes after childbirth. The focus is on Germany, a country that underwent several changes in maternity leave legislation since the late 70s. We identify the causal impact of an expansion in maternity leave by comparing labor market outcomes of women who gave birth shortly (i.e. one month) before and after a change in maternity leave legislation. There is strong evidence that each expansion induced women to delay their return to work. Despite this strong short-term effect, the expansions had little impact on women’s labor supply in the long-run. The expansion from 2 to 6 months reduced women’s wages, even 8 years after childbirth. This effect is mostly explained by the delay in the return to work. The delay in the return to work caused by the expansions in leave from 6 to 10 months and 18 to 36 months also lowered wages. However, this negative effect is offset by a positive selection effect, resulting in a zero or even positive overall effect.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2699.

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Length: 63 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2699
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  1. 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 505-45, July.
  2. Gubta, Nabanita Datta & Smith, Nina, 2000. "Children and Career Interruptions: The Family Gap in Denmark," CLS Working Papers 00-3, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Centre for Labour Market and Social Research.
  3. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1998. "Parental Leave and Child Health," NBER Working Papers 6554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Michael Baker & Kevin Milligan, 2005. "How Does Job-Protected Maternity Leave Affect Mothers' Employment and Infant Health?," NBER Working Papers 11135, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Jan Ondrich & C. Spiess & Qing Yang & Gert Wagner, 2003. "The Liberalization of Maternity Leave Policy and the Return to Work after Childbirth in Germany," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 77-110, January.
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  7. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "Gender Differences in Pay," NBER Working Papers 7732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Bauer, Thomas K. & Bender, Stefan & Bonin, Holger, 2004. "Dismissal Protection and Worker Flows in Small Establishments," IZA Discussion Papers 1105, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Rafael Lalive & Josef Zweimüller, . "Does Parental Leave Affect Fertility and Return-to-Work? Evidence from a ”True Natural Experiment”," IEW - Working Papers 242, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  10. Hashimoto, Masanori & Percy, Rick & Schoellner, Teresa & Weinberg, Bruce A., 2004. "The Long and Short of It: Maternity Leave Coverage and Women’s Labor Market Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 1207, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Ekberg, John & Eriksson, Rickard & Friebel, Guido, 2013. "Parental leave — A policy evaluation of the Swedish “Daddy-Month” reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 131-143.
  12. Stacy Dickert-Conlin & Amitabh Chandra, 1999. "Taxes and the Timing of Birth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 161-177, February.
  13. Mincer, Jacob & Polachek, Solomon, 1974. "Family Investment in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages S76-S108, Part II, .
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  15. Light, Audrey & Ureta, Manuelita, 1995. "Early-Career Work Experience and Gender Wage Differentials," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 121-54, January.
  16. Deborah J. Anderson & Melissa Binder & Kate Krause, 2002. "The Motherhood Wage Penalty: Which Mothers Pay It and Why?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 354-358, May.
  17. Charles L. Baum II, 2003. "The Effects of Maternity Leave Legislation on Mothers' Labor Supply after Childbirth," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 69(4), pages 772-799, April.
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  19. Beblo, Miriam & Wolf, Elke, 2002. "Wage Penalties for Career Interruptions: An Empirical Analysis for West Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 02-45, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  20. Burgess, Simon & Gregg, Paul & Propper, Carol & Washbrook, Elizabeth, 2008. "Maternity rights and mothers' return to work," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 168-201, April.
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  22. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1998. "The Economic Consequences Of Parental Leave Mandates: Lessons From Europe," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(1), pages 285-317, February.
  23. Sakiko Tanaka, 2005. "Parental leave and child health across OECD countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(501), pages F7-F28, 02.
  24. Shelley Phipps & Peter Burton & Lynn Lethbridge, 2001. "In and out of the labour market: long-term income consequences of child-related interruptions to women's paid work," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(2), pages 411-429, May.
  25. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1105-1166, December.
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