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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 ...

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers with number 1.

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Date of creation: 13 Mar 2003
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Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaab:1-en
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  1. Gustafsson, Siv S, et al, 1996. "Women's Labor Force Transitions in Connection with Childbirth: A Panel Data Comparison between Germany, Sweden and Great Britain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 223-46, August.
  2. Klerman, Jacob Alex & Leibowitz, Arleen, 1990. "Child Care and Women's Return to Work after Childbirth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 284-88, May.
  3. Jane Waldfogel, 1998. "Understanding the "Family Gap" in Pay for Women with Children," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 137-156, Winter.
  4. James W. Albrecht & Per-Anders Edin & Marianne Sundström & Susan B. Vroman, 1999. "Career Interruptions and Subsequent Earnings: A Reexamination Using Swedish Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(2), pages 294-311.
  5. 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.
  6. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Smith, Nina, 2002. "Children and Career Interruptions: The Family Gap in Denmark," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(276), pages 609-29, November.
  7. Mincer, Jacob & Polachek, Solomon, 1974. "Family Investment in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages S76-S108, Part II, .
  8. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1996. "The Economic Consequences of Parental Leave Mandates: Lessons from Europe," NBER Working Papers 5688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Jacob Mincer & Solomon Polacheck, 1974. "Family Investments in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 397-431 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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