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Fathers' use of parental leave. What do we know?

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  • Zhelyazkova, N.

    (UNU-MERIT)

Abstract

This paper reviews the the literature on fathers use of parental leave. Parental leave is a work-life reconciliation instrument with great potential to bring about a more equal distribution of paid and unpaid work between men and women. However, policy evaluation studies reveal that simply making parental leave available to men as an option does not lead to a marked increase in the number of male users. There is evidence that incentives in the policy design, such as earmark-ing part of the paid parental leave only for men on a use-it-or-lose-it basis, can raise the number of male users. Still, this evidence comes primarily from the Scandinavian context and the question whether such outcomes could be replicated in other countries remains open. Theoretical understanding of male use of parental leave is usually based on multidisciplinary frameworks. The economic theories typ-ically focus on the relative resources in the family and there seems to be an absence of an integrated framework for analysis at the individual level. Several empirical studies provide support for the importance of the difference in a parenting couples earnings for fathers use of parental leave. Socio-economic characteristics, such as age, individual income, education, marital status, and number of other children, can also play a role in the decision of men to take leave. Situationalfactors, such as the sector of employment, or the size of the enterprise are similarly important.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhelyazkova, N., 2013. "Fathers' use of parental leave. What do we know?," MERIT Working Papers 022, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2013022
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    File URL: https://www.merit.unu.edu/publications/wppdf/2013/wp2013-022.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jochen Kluve & Marcus Tamm, 2013. "Parental leave regulations, mothers’ labor force attachment and fathers’ childcare involvement: evidence from a natural experiment," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(3), pages 983-1005, July.
    2. 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).
    3. Reich, Nora & Boll, Christina & Leppin, Julian Sebastian, 2012. "Fathers' childcare and parental leave policies: Evidence from Western European Countries and Canada," HWWI Research Papers 115, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    4. Lundberg, Shelly, 2005. "Men and islands: Dealing with the family in empirical labor economics," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 591-612, August.
    5. Anna Amilon, 2007. "On the sharing of temporary parental leave: the case of Sweden," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 385-404, December.
    6. Wen-Jui Han & Christopher Ruhm & Jane Waldfogel, 2009. "Parental leave policies and parents' employment and leave-taking," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(1), pages 29-54.
    7. Danièle Meulders & Jérôme De Henau & Sile Padraigin O'Dorchai, 2006. "The childcare triad? indicators assessing three fields of child policies towards working mothers in the EU-15," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/7724, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. Burgess, Simon & Gregg, Paul & Propper, Carol & Washbrook, Elizabeth, 2008. "Maternity rights and mothers' return to work," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 168-201, April.
    12. Wen-Jui Han & Jane Waldfogel, 2003. "Parental leave: The impact of recent legislation on parents’ leave taking," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 40(1), pages 191-200, February.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth; Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination;

    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

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