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Evidence From Maternity Leave Expansions of the Impact of Maternal Care on Early Child Development

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  • Michael Baker
  • Kevin Milligan

Abstract

We study the impact of maternal care on early child development using an expansion in Canadian maternity leave entitlements. Following the leave expansion, mothers who took leave spent between 48 and 58 percent more time not working in the first year of their children's lives. We find that this extra maternal care primarily crowded out home-based care by unlicensed non-relatives, and replaced mostly full-time work. However, the estimates suggest a weak impact of the increase in maternal care on indicators of child development. Measures of family environment and motor-social development showed changes very close to zero. Some improvements in temperament were observed but occurred both for treated and untreated children.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Baker & Kevin Milligan, 2008. "Evidence From Maternity Leave Expansions of the Impact of Maternal Care on Early Child Development," NBER Working Papers 13826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13826
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2008. "Universal Child Care, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 709-745, August.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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