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Career Interruptions Due to Parental Leave: A Comparative Study of Denmark and Sweden


  • Elina Pylkkänen
  • Nina Smith


Parental leave mandates are associated with high female employment rates, but with reductions in relative female wages if leave is of extended durations. If fathers were given longer periods of leave, would it shorten the career breaks of women? We analyze the impact of family policies of Denmark and Sweden on women’s career breaks due to childbirth. These countries are culturally similar and share the same type of welfare state ideology, but differ remarkably in pursued family policies. Compared to Denmark, leave provisions in Sweden are more generous in terms of both duration and payment rates, and allow for flexible use until the child is 8 years old. In both countries childcare coverage rates are high, but very young (age 0-2) Danish children are more likely to be in day-care than in Sweden. This setting provides us with a fruitful point of departure to analyze explicitly the effects of different family policy regimes on job retention of Danish and Swedish mothers. Our ... Le dispositif de congé parental est associé à des taux d'emploi féminin élevés mais l’est aussi à une réduction des salaires relatifs des femmes si les congés sont de longue durée. Si les congés accordés aux pères étaient plus longs, les interruptions de carrière des femmes seraient-elles plus courtes ? Nous analysons l'incidence de la politique de la famille au Danemark et en Suède sur les interruptions de carrière des femmes après une naissance. Ces deux pays ont une culture analogue et adhèrent au même type d'idéologie en matière de protection sociale mais ils se différencient de façon remarquable dans la mise en œuvre de leur politique familiale respective. En ce qui concerne les congés, en comparaison avec le Danemark les provisions en Suède sont plus généreuses, aussi bien dans leur durée qu'au niveau des taux de paiement et un usage plus souple est permis jusqu'à ce que l'enfant ait atteint l'âge de huit ans. Dans les deux pays, les taux de garde pour les enfants sont ...

Suggested Citation

  • Elina Pylkkänen & Nina Smith, 2003. "Career Interruptions Due to Parental Leave: A Comparative Study of Denmark and Sweden," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 1, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaab:1-en

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Joanna Osiñska, 2013. "Postawy wzglêdem euro i ich determinanty– przegl¹d badañ i literatury przedmiotu," Working Papers 70, Institute of Statistics and Demography, Warsaw School of Economics.
    2. 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.
    3. Karimi, Arizo & Lindahl, Erica & Skogman Thoursie, Peter, 2012. "Labour Supply Responses to Paid Parental Leave," Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies 2012:20, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    4. Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2009. "Causes and Consequences of a Father's Child Leave: Evidence from a Reform of Leave Schemes," IZA Discussion Papers 4267, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. 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).
    6. Julie Hotchkiss & M. Pitts & Mary Walker, 2011. "Labor force exit decisions of new mothers," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 397-414, September.
    7. Anna Matysiak & Dorota Węziak-Białowolska, 2016. "Country-Specific Conditions for Work and Family Reconciliation: An Attempt at Quantification," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 32(4), pages 475-510, October.
    8. Julia Bredtmann & Jochen Kluve & Sandra Schaffner, 2013. "Mothers' Transitions into the Labor Market under Two Political Systems: Comparing East and West Germany before Reunification," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 133(3), pages 375-408.
    9. Julie L. Hotchkiss & M. Melinda Pitts & Mary Beth Walker, 2010. "Assessing the impact of education and marriage on labor market exit decisions of women," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2010-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    10. Kristin Kleinjans, 2008. "Do Gender Differences in Preferences for Competition Matter for Occupational Expectations?," Economics Working Papers 2008-09, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    11. Marianne Simonsen, 2005. "Availability and Price of High Quality Day Care and Female Employment," Economics Working Papers 2005-08, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    12. Blome, Agnes, 2011. "Work/care policies in European welfare states: Continuing variety or change towards a common model?," Discussion Papers, Research Professorship Demographic Development, Social Change, and Social Capital SP I 2011-401, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    13. Magdalena M. Muszynska, 2004. "Employment after childbearing: a comparative study of Italy and Norway," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2004-030, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    14. Hélène Périvier, 2004. "Emploi des mères et garde des jeunes enfants en Europe," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 90(3), pages 225-258.
    15. Hotchkiss, Julie L. & Pitts, M. Melinda & Walker, Mary Beth, 2011. "To work or not to work: the economics of a mother's dilemma," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2011-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    16. Jérôme De Henau & Leila Maron & Danièle Meulders & Sile Padraigin O'Dorchai, 2007. "Travail et maternité en Europe: conditions de travail et politiques publiques," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 50(1), pages 63-88.
    17. Alessandra Casarico & Paola Profeta & Chiara Pronzato, 2012. "On the local labor market determinants of female university enrolment in European regions," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 278, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    18. C. Katharina Spieß, 2011. "Vereinbarkeit von Familie und Beruf – wie wirksam sind deutsche „Care Policies“?," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(s1), pages 4-27, May.
    19. Marit Rønsen & Ragni Hege Kitterød, 2012. "Entry into work following childbirth among mothers in Norway. Recent trends and variation," Discussion Papers 702, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    20. repec:zbw:rwirep:0149 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Geyer, Johannes & Haan, Peter & Spieß, C. Katharina & Wrohlich, Katharina, 2013. "Das Elterngeld und seine Wirkungen auf das Haushaltseinkommen junger Familien und die Erwerbstätigkeit von Müttern," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 193-211.
    22. Hong, Ying & Corman, Diana, 2005. "Women´s Return to Work after First Birth in Sweden during 1980-2000," Arbetsrapport 2005:19, Institute for Futures Studies.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply


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