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The Economic Consequences of Family Policies: Lessons from a Century of Legislation in High-Income Countries

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  • Claudia Olivetti

    () (Boston College and NBER)

  • Barbara Petrongolo

    () (Queen Mary University of London, CEPR and CEP (LSE))

Abstract

We draw lessons from existing work and our own analysis on the effects of parental leave and other interventions aimed at aiding families. The outcomes of interest are female employment, gender gaps in earnings and fertility. We begin with a discussion of the historical introduction of family policies ever since the end of the nineteenth century and then turn to the details regarding family policies currently in effect across high-income nations. We sketch a framework concerning the effects of family policy to motivate our country- and micro-level evidence on the impact of family policies on gender outcomes. Most estimates of the impact of parental leave entitlement on female labor market outcomes range from negligible to weakly positive. The verdict is far more positive for the beneficial impact of spending on early education and childcare.

Suggested Citation

  • Claudia Olivetti & Barbara Petrongolo, 2017. "The Economic Consequences of Family Policies: Lessons from a Century of Legislation in High-Income Countries," Working Papers 811, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:qmw:qmwecw:wp811
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bana, Sarah & Bedard, Kelly & Rossin-Slater, Maya, 2018. "The Impacts of Paid Family Leave Benefits: Regression Kink Evidence from California Administrative Data," IZA Discussion Papers 11381, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Joanna Tyrowicz & Magdalena Smyk & Lucas van der Velde, 2018. "A cautionary note on the reliability of the online survey data – the case of Wage Indicator," IAAEU Discussion Papers 201805, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
    3. Andreas Steinhauer, 2018. "Working Moms, Childlessness, and Female Identity," Sciences Po publications 79, Sciences Po.
    4. Francine D. Blau & Anne E. Winkler, 2017. "Women, Work, and Family," NBER Working Papers 23644, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. repec:ces:ifodic:v:15:y:2017:i:2:p:26-30 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Nan L. Maxwell & Nathan Wozny, "undated". "Gender Gaps in Time Use and Earnings: What's Norms Got to Do With It?," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 38f127bf7f494794807db7a3a, Mathematica Policy Research.
    7. Aaronson, Daniel & Dehejia, Rajeev & Jordon, Andrew & Pop-Eleches, Cristian & Samii, Cyrus & Schultze, Karl, 2017. "The Effect of Fertility on Mothers’ Labor Supply over the Last Two Centuries," MPRA Paper 76768, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Razzu, Giovanni & Singleton, Carl & Mitchell, Mark, 2018. "On why gender employment equality in Britain has stalled since the early 1990s," MPRA Paper 87190, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Libertad González Luna & Lidia Farré, 2017. "The effects of paternity leave on fertility and labor market outcomes," Economics Working Papers 1572, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    10. Fortin, Nicole M. & Bell, Brian & Böhm, Michael, 2017. "Top earnings inequality and the gender pay gap: Canada, Sweden, and the United Kingdom," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 107-123.
    11. repec:ces:ifodic:v:15:y:2017:i:2:p:19337559 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Sarah Bana & Kelly Bedard & Maya Rossin-Slater, 2018. "The Impacts of Paid Family Leave Benefits: Regression Kink Evidence from California Administrative Data," NBER Working Papers 24438, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Krzysztof Makarski & Joanna Tyrowicz & Magda Malec, 2018. "Evaluating welfare and economic effects of raised fertility," GRAPE Working Papers 25, GRAPE Group for Research in Applied Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Parental leave; Childcare; Family policies; Gender gaps;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

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