The Effect of Maternity Leave Expansions on Fertility Intentions: Evidence from Switzerland

  • Andrei BarbosEmail author
  • Stefani Milovanska-FarringtonEmail author
Original Paper


We study the effect of the expansion of the mandatory paid maternity leave, implemented in Switzerland in 2005, on individuals’ fertility intentions. Earlier literature found evidence of fertility increases induced by maternity leave expansions from other countries of a relatively large magnitude of 1 year. The expansion that we consider was smaller, from 8 unpaid weeks to 14 mandatory paid weeks, and thus its effect on fertility decisions is less evident ex ante. Nevertheless, we find that it positively impacts fertility planning even though, by construction, our model specification cannot capture its full effect. The strongest effects are elicited in the subsamples of men, individuals with two children, and individuals aged between 31 and 36. There are several channels through which the maternity leave expansion may affect individuals’ child planning, all indicative of a positive effect on the fertility rate.


Maternity leave Child planning Fertility 

JEL Classification

D04 J13 J18 N34 



We thank helpful comments from Padmaja Ayyagari, Giulia La Mattina, and Joshua Wilde.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Andrei Barbos declares that he has no conflict of interest, Stefani Milovanska-Farrington declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA

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