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

Author

Listed:
  • Alexander Ahammer
  • Martin Halla
  • Nicole Schneeweis

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

  • Alexander Ahammer & Martin Halla & Nicole Schneeweis, 2018. "The Effect of Prenatal Maternity Leave on Short and Long-term Child Outcomes," Economics working papers 2018-01, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  • Handle: RePEc:jku:econwp:2018_01
    Note: English
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Caroline Chuard, 2018. "Womb at work: the missing impact of maternal employment on newborn health," ECON - Working Papers 301, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    2. Shirlee Lichtman-Sadot & Neta Benshalom-Tirosh & Eyal Sheiner, 2020. "Conflict, Rockets, and Birth Outcomes: Evidence from Israel’s Operation Protective Edge," Working Papers 2009, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.
    3. Lichtman-Sadot, Shirlee & Benshalom-Tirosh, Neta & Sheiner, Eyal, 2020. "Conflict, Rockets, and Birth Outcomes: Evidence from Israel's Operation Protective Edge," IZA Discussion Papers 13394, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    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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