Skip to main content

Parental leave policies, intra-household time allocations and children’s human capital

Abstract

This paper uses a general equilibrium model of marriage and divorce to assess how public policies on parental leave and leave benefits affect intra-household decision making, family structure, intergenerational mobility, and the distribution of income. The benchmark economy is calibrated to US data to replicate some characteristics relevant to the interaction between the marriage and labor markets. The effects of unpaid leave, paid leave benefits, and mandated leave on human capital investment, distribution of income, and welfare are then analyzed.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Aiyagari SR, Greenwood J, Guner N (2000) On the state of the union. J. Polit Econ 108(2):213–244

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Baum C (2003) Does early maternal employment harm child development? An analysis of the potential benefits of leave taking. J Labor Econ 21(2):409–448

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Becker G, Tomes N (1986) Human capital and the rise and fall of families. J Labor Econ 4(3):S1–S39

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Berger LM, Hill J, Waldfogel J (2005) Maternity leave, early maternal employment and child heath and development in the US. Econ J 115(501):F29–F47

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bernal R (2007) The Effect of Maternal Employment and Child Care on Children’s Cognitive Development. Northwestern University, January 2007

  • Bernal R, Keane M (2006) Child care choices and children’s cognitive achievement: the case of single mothers. IPR working paper, Northwestern University, WP-06-09.

  • Brown M, Flinn C (2006) Investment in child quality over marital states. Working paper, Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin and Department of Economics, New York University, January 2004

  • Cutler D, Katz L (1992) Rising inequality? Changes in the distribution of income and consumption in the 1980s. Am Econ Rev 82(2):546–551

    Google Scholar 

  • Erosa A, Fuster L, Restuccia D (2005) A general equilibrium analysis of parental leave policies. Working paper 05-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

  • Friedberg L (1998) Did unilateral divorce raise divorce rates? Evidence from panel data. Am Econ Rev 88 (3):608–627

    Google Scholar 

  • Galtry J (2000) Policies and practices to support breastfeeding in the workplace. Paper prepared and presented at the World Health Organization and UNICEF’s Technical Consultation on Infant and Young Child Feeding, Geneva. March 13–17

  • Glass J, Riley L (1998) Family responsive policies and employee retention following childbirth. Soc Forces 76(4):1401–1435

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Greenwood J, Guner N, Knowles J (2003) More on marriage, fertility, and the distribution of income. Int Econ Rev 44(3):827–862

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gruber J (2004) Is making divorce easier bad for children? The long run implications of unilateral divorce. J Labor Econ 22:799–833

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Heymann J, Earle A, Simmons S, Breslow SM, Kuehnhoff A (2004) The work, family, and equity index: where does the United States stand globally? Harvard School of Public Health Report #59518

  • Hofferth, SL (1996) Effects of public and private policies on working after childbirth. Work and Occup 23(4):378–404

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • International Labor Organization (1999) Maternity protection at work. International Labour Organization, Geneva

    Google Scholar 

  • Loury GC (1981) Intergenerational transfers and the distribution of earnings. Econometrica 49(4):843–867

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mortensen DT (1988) Matching: finding a partner for life or otherwise. Am J Soc 94:S215–S240

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • OECD (2002) Babies and bosses—reconciling work and family life, vol 1. OECD Publishing, Australia

    Google Scholar 

  • OECD (2003) Babies and bosses. Reconciling work and family life, vol 2. OECD Publishing, Austria

    Google Scholar 

  • OECD (2004) Babies and bosses—reconciling work and family life, vol 3. OECD Publishing, New Zealand

    Google Scholar 

  • O’Connell M (1990) Maternity leave arrangements: 1961–85. In: Work and family patterns of american women. Current Population Reports, Series P23, No.165. US Census Bureau, Washington, DC

  • Phipps S, Burton P, Lethbridge L (1998) In and out of the labour market: long term income consequences of interruptions in paid work. Can J Econ 34(2):411–429

    Google Scholar 

  • Ruhm C (2000) Parental leave and child health. J Health Econ 19(6):931–960

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stokey N (1998) Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves: the economics of social mobility. In: Jacobs DP, Kalai E, Kamien MI (eds) Frontiers of research in economic theory: the Nancy L. Shwartz memorial lectures, 1983–1997, Cambridge Univ. Press, pp 210–241

  • Tauchen G (1986) Finite state Markov-chain approximation to univariate and vector autoregressions. Econ Lett 20:177–181

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Waldfogel J (1997) Working mothers then and now: a cross-cohort analysis of the effects of maternity leave on women’s pay. In: Francine D. Blau FD, Ehrenberg RG (eds) Gender and family issues in the workplace. Russell Sage Foundation, New York 92–126

    Google Scholar 

  • Waldfogel J (1998) The family gap for young women in the United States and Britain: can maternity leave make a difference? J Labor Econ 16(3):505–545

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Anna Fruttero.

Additional information

Responsible editor: Allessandro Cigno

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bernal, R., Fruttero, A. Parental leave policies, intra-household time allocations and children’s human capital. J Popul Econ 21, 779–825 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00148-007-0141-z

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00148-007-0141-z

Keywords

  • Parental leave
  • Human capital investment
  • Income distribution

JEL codes

  • J1
  • J2