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Maternity Leave and Children's Cognitive and Behavioral Development

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  • Michael Baker
  • Kevin S. Milligan

Abstract

We investigate the impact of maternity leave on the cognitive and behavioral development of children at ages 4 and 5, following up previous research on these children at younger ages. The impact is identified by legislated increases in the duration of maternity leave in Canada, which significantly increased the amount of first-year maternal care. Our results indicate no positive effect on indices of children's cognitive and behavioral development. We uncover a small negative impact on cognitive scores, which may indicate the timing of the mother/child separation due to the mother's return to work plays a role.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Baker & Kevin S. Milligan, 2011. "Maternity Leave and Children's Cognitive and Behavioral Development," NBER Working Papers 17105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17105
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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.
    2. Raquel Bernal & Michael P. Keane, 2011. "Child Care Choices and Children's Cognitive Achievement: The Case of Single Mothers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(3), pages 459-512.
    3. Pedro Carneiro & Katrine Loken & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2010. "A flying start? Long term consequences of maternal time investments in children during their first year of life," CeMMAP working papers CWP38/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    4. Michael Baker & Kevin Milligan, 2015. "Maternity leave and children’s cognitive and behavioral development," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(2), pages 373-391, April.
    5. Jane Waldfogel, 2006. "What do children need?," Public Policy Review, Institute for Public Policy Research, vol. 13(1), pages 26-34.
    6. Charles L. Baum II, 2003. "Does Early Maternal Employment Harm Child Development? An Analysis of the Potential Benefits of Leave Taking," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 381-408, April.
    7. Pinka Chatterji & Sara Markowitz, 2005. "Does the Length of Maternity Leave Affect Maternal Health?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 16-41, July.
    8. Loeb, Susanna & Bridges, Margaret & Bassok, Daphna & Fuller, Bruce & Rumberger, Russell W., 2007. "How much is too much? The influence of preschool centers on children's social and cognitive development," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 52-66, February.
    9. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2004. "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
    10. Stephen G. Donald & Kevin Lang, 2007. "Inference with Difference-in-Differences and Other Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 221-233, May.
    11. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan & Matthieu Verstraete, 2008. "Childcare Policy and Cognitive Outcomes of Children: Results from a Large Scale Quasi-Experiment on Universal Childcare in Canada," Cahiers de recherche 0823, CIRPEE.
    12. Baker, Michael, 2011. "Universal Early Childhood Interventions: What is the Evidence Base?," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2011-29, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 28 Nov 2011.
    13. Raquel Bernal, 2008. "The Effect Of Maternal Employment And Child Care On Children'S Cognitive Development," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1173-1209, November.
    14. Liu Qian & Skans Oskar Nordstrom, 2010. "The Duration of Paid Parental Leave and Children's Scholastic Performance," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-35, January.
    15. Baker, Michael & Milligan, Kevin, 2008. "Maternal employment, breastfeeding, and health: Evidence from maternity leave mandates," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 871-887, July.
    16. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Simonsen, Marianne, 2010. "Non-cognitive child outcomes and universal high quality child care," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 30-43, February.
    17. Michael Baker & Kevin Milligan, 2010. "Evidence from Maternity Leave Expansions of the Impact of Maternal Care on Early Child Development," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(1).
    18. Rasmussen, Astrid Würtz, 2010. "Increasing the length of parents' birth-related leave: The effect on children's long-term educational outcomes," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 91-100, January.
    19. Christian Dustmann & Uta Schönberg, 2012. "Expansions in Maternity Leave Coverage and Children's Long-Term Outcomes," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 190-224, July.
    20. Paul Gregg & Elizabeth Washbrook & Carol Propper & Simon Burgess, 2005. "The Effects of a Mother's Return to Work Decision on Child Development in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(501), pages 48-80, February.
    21. Natalia Danzer & Victor Lavy, 2013. "Parental Leave and Children's Schooling Outcomes: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from a Large Parental Leave Reform," CESifo Working Paper Series 4488, CESifo Group Munich.
    22. Maria Hanratty & Eileen Trzcinski, 2009. "Who benefits from paid family leave? Impact of expansions in Canadian paid family leave on maternal employment and transfer income," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(3), pages 693-711, July.
    23. Magnuson, Katherine A. & Ruhm, Christopher & Waldfogel, Jane, 2007. "Does prekindergarten improve school preparation and performance?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 33-51, February.
    24. Michael Baker & Kevin Milligan, 2008. "How Does Job-Protected Maternity Leave Affect Mothers' Employment?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(4), pages 655-691, October.
    25. Michael Baker, 2011. "Innis Lecture: Universal early childhood interventions: what is the evidence base?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 44(4), pages 1069-1105, November.
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    1. What’s the impact of maternity leave on the cognitive and behavioral development of children?
      by Chris Blattman in Chris Blattman on 2011-06-07 11:37:51

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Felfe, Christina & Lalive, Rafael, 2012. "Early Child Care and Child Development: For Whom it Works and Why," IZA Discussion Papers 7100, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Rita Ginja & Jenny Jans & Arizo Karimi, 2017. "Parental Investments in Early Life and Child Outcomes: Evidence from Swedish Parental Leave Rules," Working Papers 2017-085, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    3. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie & Valentina Duque, 2017. "Childhood Circumstances and Adult Outcomes: Act II," NBER Working Papers 23017, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Natalia Danzer & Victor Lavy, 2013. "Parental Leave and Children's Schooling Outcomes: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from a Large Parental Leave Reform," CESifo Working Paper Series 4488, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Natalia Danzer & Martin Halla & Nicole Schneeweis & Martina Zweim�ller, 2017. "Parental Leave, (In)formal Childcare and Long-term Child Outcomes," Working Papers 2017-11, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    6. Maya Rossin-Slater, 2017. "Maternity and Family Leave Policy," NBER Working Papers 23069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Sara Cools & Jon H. Fiva & Lars J. Kirkebøen, 2015. "Causal Effects of Paternity Leave on Children and Parents," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 117(3), pages 801-828, July.
    8. Adamos Adamou & Christina Drakos & Sriya Iyer, 2013. "Missing women in the United Kingdom," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-19, December.
    9. Christina Felfe & Natalia Nollenberger & Núria Rodríguez-Planas, 2015. "Can’t buy mommy’s love? Universal childcare and children’s long-term cognitive development," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(2), pages 393-422, April.
    10. Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch, 2016. "Parental employment and children’s academic achievement," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 231-231, January.
    11. Ruhm, Christopher J. & Waldfogel, Jane, 2011. "Long-Term Effects of Early Childhood Care and Education," IZA Discussion Papers 6149, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Michael Baker & Kevin Milligan, 2015. "Maternity leave and children’s cognitive and behavioral development," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(2), pages 373-391, April.
    13. Stearns, Jenna, 2015. "The effects of paid maternity leave: Evidence from Temporary Disability Insurance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 85-102.
    14. Baker, Michael, 2011. "Universal Early Childhood Interventions: What is the Evidence Base?," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2011-29, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 28 Nov 2011.
    15. Felfe, Christina & Lalive, Rafael, 2014. "Does Early Child Care Help or Hurt Children's Development?," IZA Discussion Papers 8484, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Herbst, Chris M., 2014. "Are Parental Welfare Work Requirements Good for Disadvantaged Children? Evidence from Age-of-Youngest-Child Exemptions," IZA Discussion Papers 8485, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Rossin-Slater, Maya, 2017. "Maternity and Family Leave Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 10500, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    18. Rieck, Karsten Marshall Elseth, 2012. "Does Child Care Affect Parents’ Sickness Absence? Evidence From A Norwegian Paternity Leave Reform," Working Papers in Economics 14/12, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
    19. Mathias Huebener & Daniel Kuehnle & C. Katharina Spiess, 2017. "Paid Parental Leave and Child Development: Evidence from the 2007 German Parental Benefit Reform and Administrative Data," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1651, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions

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