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

  • Zhelyazkova, Nevena

    ()

    (UNU-MERIT/MGSoG, Maastricht University)

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    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 earmarking 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 typically 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 couple's 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. Situational factors, such as the sector of employment, or the size of the enterprize are similarly important.

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    File URL: http://www.merit.unu.edu/publications/wppdf/2013/wp2013-022.pdf
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    Paper provided by United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT) in its series MERIT Working Papers with number 022.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2013022
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    1. 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).
    2. Albrecht, J & Edin, P-A & Sundstrom, M & Vroman, S-B, 1996. "Career Interruptions and Subsequent Earning : A Reexamination Using Swedish Data," Papers 1996-23, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
    3. Lundberg, Shelly, 2005. "Men and islands: Dealing with the family in empirical labor economics," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 591-612, August.
    4. 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.
    5. 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).
    6. 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, vol. 26(3), pages 983-1005, July.
    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. Wen-Jui, Han & Ruhm, Christopher J. & Waldfogel, Jane, 2007. "Parental Leave Policies and Parents’ Employment and Leave-Taking," IZA Discussion Papers 3244, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. Wen-Jui Han & Jane Waldfogel, 2003. "Parental leave: The impact of recent legislation on parents’ leave taking," Demography, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 191-200, February.
    12. 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.
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