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Parental Leave Policies in Europe and North America

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  • Christopher J. Ruhm
  • Jackqueline L. Teague

Abstract

Despite widespread international implementation, limited information is currently available on the economic impact of mandated family leave policies. This paper increases our understanding of the nature and effects of parental leave entitlements in several ways. First, we provide a brief history of family leave legislation in Europe and North America and summarize arguments relating to the efficiency and incidence of mandated leave. Second, we have constructed a longitudinal data set detailing durations of job- protected leave in 17 countries, during the 1960-89 period, and use this information to examine recent trends in the regulations. The data indicate that family leave durations grew rapidly during the decade of the 1970s, with more modest increases since that time. Third, we provide an exploratory investigation of the relationship between mandated leave policies and macroeconomic outcomes. The econometric estimates provide little support for the view that moderate periods of parental leave reduce economic efficiency but rather hint at a modest beneficial impact, particularly when considering paid time off work.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher J. Ruhm & Jackqueline L. Teague, 1995. "Parental Leave Policies in Europe and North America," NBER Working Papers 5065, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5065
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Dorothea Alewell, Kerstin Pull, 2001. "An Internatioal Comparison and Assessment of Maternity Leave Regulation," Working Paper Series A 2001-02, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    2. Jan Ondrich & C. Spiess & Qing Yang & Gert Wagner, 2003. "The Liberalization of Maternity Leave Policy and the Return to Work after Childbirth in Germany," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 77-110, January.
    3. Spiess, C.Katharina & Wrohlich, Katharina, 2008. "The Parental Leave Benefit Reform in Germany: Costs and Labour Market Outcomes of Moving towards the Nordic Model," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 575-591.
    4. Ekberg, John & Eriksson, Rickard & Friebel, Guido, 2013. "Parental leave — A policy evaluation of the Swedish “Daddy-Month” reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 131-143.
    5. Rafael Lalive & Josef Zweim�ller, "undated". "Does Parental Leave Affect Fertility and Return-to-Work? Evidence from a �True Natural Experiment�," IEW - Working Papers 242, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    6. Gerda R. Neyer, 2006. "Family policies and fertility in Europe: fertility policies at the intersection of gender policies, employment policies and care policies," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2006-010, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    7. Lalive, Rafael & Zweimüller, Josef, 2005. "Does Parental Leave Affect Fertility and Return-to-Work? Evidence from a "True Natural Experiment"," IZA Discussion Papers 1613, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Andres Erosa & Luisa Fuster & Diego Restuccia, 2010. "A General Equilibrium Analysis of Parental Leave Policies," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(4), pages 742-758, October.
    9. Spiess, C. Katharina & Wrohlich, Katharina, 2006. "The Parental Leave Benefit Reform in Germany: Costs and Labour Market Outcomes of Moving towards the Scandinavian Model," IZA Discussion Papers 2372, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Hashimoto, Masanori & Percy, Rick & Schoellner, Teresa & Weinberg, Bruce A., 2004. "The Long and Short of It: Maternity Leave Coverage and Women’s Labor Market Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 1207, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Ekberg, John & Eriksson, Rickard & Friebel, Guido, 2004. "Sharing Responsibility? Short- and Long-term Effects of Sweden's "Daddy-Month" Reform," Working Paper Series 3/2004, Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
    12. Del Boca, Daniela & Locatelli, Marilena, 2006. "The Determinants of Motherhood and Work Status: A Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 2414, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Marcia Meyers & Katherin Ross Phillips & Janet Gornick, 1996. "Supporting the Employment of Mothers: Policy Variation Across Fourteen Welfare States," LIS Working papers 139, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    14. Ana Espinola-Arredondo & Sunita Mondal, 2009. "The effect of parental leave on female employment: evidence from state policies," Working Papers 2008-15, School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University.
    15. Duvander, Ann-Zofie & Ferrarini, Tommy & Thalberg, Sara, 2005. "Swedish parental leave and gender equality - Achievements and reform challenges in a European perspective," Arbetsrapport 2005:11, Institute for Futures Studies.
    16. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1997. "Policy Watch: The Family and Medical Leave Act," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 175-186, Summer.
    17. Joyce P. Jacobsen, 2009. "Accommodating Families," Chapters,in: Labor and Employment Law and Economics, chapter 11 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    18. Pylkkänen, Elina & Smith, Nina, 2004. "The Impact of Family-Friendly Policies in Denmark and Sweden on Mothers' Career Interruptions Due to Childbirth," IZA Discussion Papers 1050, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    19. Adrienne ten Cate, 2003. "The Impact of Provincial Maternity and Parental Leave Policies on Employment Rates of Women with Young Children in Canada," Department of Economics Working Papers 2003-03, McMaster University.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy

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