Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers,
University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics

No 07-11: The Long-Term Effect on Children of Increasing the Length of Parents' Birth-Related Leave

Astrid Würtz ()
Additional contact information
Astrid Würtz: Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business, Postal: The Aarhus School of Business, Prismet, Silkeborgvej 2, DK 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

Abstract: The length of parents’ birth-related leave varies across countries and has been subject of some debate. In this paper, I will focus on some potential bene…ts of leave. I investigate the long-term e¤ects on children of increasing the length of parents’birth-related leave using a natural experiment from 1984 in Denmark when the leave length was increased quite suddenly by almost 50% from 14 to 20 weeks. Regression discontinuity design is used to identify the causal e¤ect of the leave reform and to estimate whether there is a measurable, persistent e¤ect on children’s cognitive and educational outcomes at ages 15 and 21. A population sample of Danish children born in the months around implementation of the reform and a dataset with Danish PISA-2000 scores are used for the analysis. Results indicate that increasing parents’ access to birth-related leave has no measurable e¤ect on children’s long-term cognitive outcomes.

Keywords: Maternity leave; parental leave; child outcomes

JEL-codes: D13; J13; J18

41 pages, January 1, 2007

Note: Accepted for publication in Labour Economics: Rasmussen, A.W.(2009), "Increasing the Length of Parents' Birth-Related Leave: The Effect on Children's Long-Term Educational Outcomes"

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