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The effect of parental leave on female employment: evidence from state policies

  • Ana Espinola-Arredondo
  • Sunita Mondal


    (School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University)

This paper analyzes the effect of federal and state maternity leave policies on female employment. We analyze if the enactment of the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) differentially affected states that previously implemented maternity leave laws than those states which did not. Additionally, we study whether FMLA caused an increase in the female employment and labor force participation in those states that expanded its benefits and relaxed the eligibility criteria. Finally, we analyze the Paid Family Leave program in California, comparing how the change in female employment and labor force participation differs from those states which have FMLA alone and those which have complemented the benefits of FMLA. Using March CPS data available from the Integrated Public Use Micro data Series (IPUMS), our results suggest, first, a positive and significant effect of FMLA on female employment and, second, a positive and significant effect on the change in female employment for some of the states that expanded the benefits and eligibility criteria of FMLA.

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Paper provided by School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University in its series Working Papers with number 2008-15.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wsu:wpaper:espinola-3
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  1. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:119:y:2004:i:1:p:249-275 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. 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.
  3. David Card, 1989. "The Impact of the Mariel Boatlift on the Miami Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 3069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:111:y:1996:i:2:p:605-37 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. 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.
  6. Christopher J. Ruhm & Jackqueline L. Teague, 1995. "Parental Leave Policies in Europe and North America," NBER Working Papers 5065, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Nada Eissa & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1995. "Labor Supply Response to the Earned Income Tax Credit," NBER Working Papers 5158, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1997. "Policy Watch: The Family and Medical Leave Act," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 175-186, Summer.
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