Review of Economics of the Household

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 129–158 | Cite as

Paternal childcare and parental leave policies: evidence from industrialized countries

  • Christina BollEmail author
  • Julian Leppin
  • Nora Reich


This paper merges data from the Multinational Time Use Study (MTUS) with national parental leave characteristics from eight industrialized countries from 1971 to 2005 to estimate the association between national parental leave arrangements and paternal childcare. We also test whether this association varies according to a father’s educational level. We find that the number of parental leave weeks available to fathers and high rates of benefit are positively associated with fathers’ childcare time. This is generally robust when taking into account country and year as fixed effects, and other country-specific variables such as female employment rates. The magnitudes of the coefficients are economically significant. For example, high parental leave benefits compared to none are associated with an increase of almost 1 h per week in paternal childcare time. This relationship between benefit rate and time spent on childcare is strongest for highly educated fathers. They also benefit the most from exclusive ‘daddy weeks’ whereas the positive association of transferable leave to paternal childcare is solely driven by lowly educated fathers.


Childcare Fatherhood Parental leave Time use 

JEL Classification

D13 J13 J18 


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI)HamburgGermany
  2. 2.Christian Albrechts-University KielKielGermany
  3. 3.University of HamburgHamburgGermany

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