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Does the Length of Maternity Leave Affect Maternal Health?

  • Pinka Chatterji
  • Sara Markowitz

The objective of this paper is to investigate the impact of the length of maternity leave on maternal health in a sample of working mothers. Two measures of depression and a measure of overall health are used to represent maternal health. Ordinary Least Squares models provide baseline estimates, and instrumental variables models account for the potential endogeneity of the return-to-work decision. The findings suggest that returning to work later may reduce the number or frequency of depressive symptoms, but the length of time before returning to work is not associated with a lower probability of being a likely case of clinical depression. Similarly, there is little evidence that longer maternity leave impacts physical and mental health as measured by frequent outpatient visits during the first six months after childbirth.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w10206.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10206.

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Date of creation: Jan 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Chatterji, Pinka and Sara Markowitz. "Does The Length Of Maternity Leave Affect Maternal Health?," Southern Economic Journal, 2005, v72(1,Jul), 16-41.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10206
Note: HE
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  1. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2000. "Parental leave and child health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 931-960, November.
  2. Gjerdingen, Dwenda K. & Debra, Froberg, 1991. "Predictors of health in new mothers," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 33(12), pages 1399-1407, January.
  3. Blau, Francine D & Grossberg, Adam J, 1992. "Maternal Labor Supply and Children's Cognitive Development," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(3), pages 474-81, August.
  4. Michael Grossman, 1972. "The Demand for Health: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros72-1, December.
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