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

Author

Listed:
  • Martin Halla
  • Nicole Schneeweis
  • Martina Zweimüller
  • Natalia Danzer

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

  • Martin Halla & Nicole Schneeweis & Martina Zweimüller & Natalia Danzer, 2017. "Parental Leave, (In)formal Childcare and Long-term Child Outcomes," CDL Aging, Health, Labor working papers 2017-04, The Christian Doppler (CD) Laboratory Aging, Health, and the Labor Market, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  • Handle: RePEc:jku:cdlwps:wp1704
    Note: English
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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. Wolfgang Frimmel & Martin Halla & Bernhard Schmidpeter & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2017. "Grandmothers' Labor Supply," Economics working papers 2017-20, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    3. 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.
    4. 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).
    5. Schmidpeter, Bernhard & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf & Frimmel, Wolfgang & Halla, Martin, 2017. "Grandmothers’ labor supply," ISER Working Paper Series 2017-11, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    6. Canaan, Serena, 2022. "Parental leave, household specialization and children’s well-being," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C).
    7. Canaan, Serena, 2019. "Parental Leave, Household Specialization and Children's Well-Being," IZA Discussion Papers 12420, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    : Parental leave; formal childcare; informal childcare; child development; maternal labor supply; 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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