Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 1185–1210 | Cite as

Family policy and maternal employment in the Czech transition: a natural experiment

  • Alzbeta MullerovaEmail author
Original Paper


Czech family policies have gone through dramatic changes since the 1989 transition to a market economy, resulting into the highest employment gap between women with and without pre-school children in OECD. This paper focuses on the 1995 Czech Parental Benefit reform which extended the payment of universal parental benefits to 4 years instead of 3 without an equivalent extension of job-protected parental leave, leaving to mothers the choice of either guaranteed return to employment or an additional 12 months of benefits. The study relies on a difference-in-differences strategy to assess the net effect of this large-scale reform on mothers’ labour market participation. I find a strong negative impact on mothers’ probability of return to work at the end of parental leave, with a heterogeneous size with respect to their educational attainment. I also find evidence of the persistence of this detrimental effect on mothers’ employment beyond the short-term horizon targeted by the legislators.


Parental leave Policy evaluation Female employment 

JEL classifications

J16 J18 P30 



I am very grateful to Dominique Meurs, Uta Schönberg, Florent Fremigacci, Erich Battistin and the anonymous referees of this Journal for their valuable help and comments. I also thank Christian Dustmann and Claudio Lucifora for their indispensable support, and all the participants of the 18th European IZA Summer School, the DEFAP/LASER Summer School in Applied Microeconometrics and the Fourth SOLE/EALE World Meetings for their helpful suggestions.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Paris Nanterre and IOS RegensburgNanterreFrance

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