Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 523–545 | Cite as

Family leave policies and women's retention after childbirth: Evidence from the United States, Britain, and Japan

  • Jane Waldfogel
  • Yoshio Higuchi
  • Masahiro Abe


This paper uses labour force survey data to examine the employment rates and employment decisions of women with young children in the United States, Britain and Japan. Our results confirm that young children have a very strong negative effect on women's employment; this effect is most pronounced in Britain. We then take advantage of panel data to investigate the effects of family leave coverage on women's job retention after childbirth. We find that family leave coverage increases the likelihood that a woman will return to her employer after childbirth in all three countries, with a particularly marked effect in Japan. This result suggests that the recent expansions in family leave coverage in the sample countries are likely to lead to increased employment of women after childbirth.

JEL classification: J16 J18 J2 
Key words: Family leave maternity leave women's employment 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jane Waldfogel
    • 1
  • Yoshio Higuchi
    • 2
  • Masahiro Abe
    • 3
  1. 1.Columbia University, School of Social Work, 622 West 113th Street, New York, NY 10025, USA (e-mail:
  2. 2.Keio University, Department of Business and Commerce, Tokyo, JapanJP
  3. 3.Hitotsubashi University, Institute of Economics, Tokyo, JapanJP

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