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

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  • Schönberg, Uta

    (University College London)

  • Ludsteck, Johannes

    (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Schönberg, Uta & Ludsteck, Johannes, 2007. "Maternity Leave Legislation, Female Labor Supply, and the Family Wage Gap," IZA Discussion Papers 2699, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2699
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    human capital; parental leave; gender;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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