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Entry into work following childbirth among mothers in Norway. Recent trends and variation

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    Universal parental leaves with job protection and earnings compensation increase women’s attachment to the labour market, but very long leaves may have negative consequences both at the individual and the societal level. Some scholars have therefore argued that generous family-friendly policies in the Nordic countries have been counterproductive in achieving one of the main goals, gender equality. In this paper we ask whether it is possible to offset the potential negative effects on women’s labour supply of long parental leaves by policies targeted especially at the father, and policies making formal day care cheaper and more easily available for parents. Norway is an interesting case in this respect, since all recent extensions in the parental leave scheme have been reserved for fathers and at the same time there has been a vast expansion of the day-care sector combined with reduced parental payment. Using panel data from 1996-2010, we find that Norwegian mothers did indeed enter work faster after childbirth in the late 2000s than about a decade earlier. This suggests that the latest initiatives have contributed to a shortening of women’s employment interruptions and a more equal division of paid and unpaid work among parents.

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    File URL: http://www.ssb.no/a/publikasjoner/pdf/DP/dp702.pdf
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    Paper provided by Research Department of Statistics Norway in its series Discussion Papers with number 702.

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    Date of creation: Aug 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:702
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    1. Helena Skyt Nielsen & Marianne Simonsen & Mette Verner, 2004. "Does the Gap in Family-friendly Policies Drive the Family Gap?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(4), pages 721-744, December.
    2. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1996. "The Economic Consequences of Parental Leave Mandates: Lessons from Europe," NBER Working Papers 5688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Sara Cools & Jon H. Fiva & Lars J. Kirkebøen, 2011. "Causal Effects of Paternity Leave on Children and Parents," CESifo Working Paper Series 3513, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Mette Ejrnæs & Astrid Kunze, 2012. "Work and Wage Dynamics around Childbirth," CESifo Working Paper Series 3710, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. 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.
    6. Rieck, Karsten Marshall E. & Telle, Kjetil, 2012. "Sick Leave Before, During and After Pregnancy," Working Papers in Economics 06/12, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
    7. Marit Rønsen, 2009. "Long-term Effects of Cash for Childcare on Mothers' Labour Supply," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 23(3), pages 507-533, 09.
    8. Simon Burgess & Paul Gregg & Carol Propper & Elizabeth Washbrook & ALSPAC Study Team, 2002. "Maternity Rights and Mothers' Return to Work," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 02/055, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    9. 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, .
    10. Jacob Mincer & Haim Ofek, 1982. "Interrupted Work Careers: Depreciation and Restoration of Human Capital," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(1), pages 3-24.
    11. 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.
    12. Chiara Pronzato, 2008. "Return to work after childbirth: Does parental leave matter in Europe?," Working Papers 014, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
    13. Even, William E, 1987. "Career Interruptions Following Childbirth," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(2), pages 255-77, April.
    14. Randi Kjeldstad & Marit R�nsen, 2004. "Welfare Rules, Business Cycles, And Employment Dynamics Among Lone Parents In Norway," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(2), pages 61-89.
    15. Pål Schøne, 2004. "Labour supply effects of a cash-for-care subsidy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 703-727, December.
    16. Nina Drange & Kjetil Telle, 2010. "The effect of preschool on the school performance of children from immigrant families. Results from an introduction of free preschool in two districts in Oslo," Discussion Papers 631, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
    17. Jacob Klerman & Arleen Leibowitz, 1999. "Job continuity among new mothers," Demography, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 145-155, May.
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