Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers in Economics,
University of Bergen, Department of Economics

No 14/12: DOES CHILD CARE AFFECT PARENTS’ SICKNESS ABSENCE? EVIDENCE FROM A NORWEGIAN PATERNITY LEAVE REFORM

Karsten Marshall Elseth Rieck ()
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Karsten Marshall Elseth Rieck: Department of Economics, University of Bergen

Abstract: In several European countries, a paternity quota has been introduced as part of paid parental leave to provide incentives for fathers to increase their child care responsibilities and household involvement.In this paper, we explore the introduction of the first paternity quota in Norway in 1993. Through a regression discontinuity (RD) framework, we examine the sickness absence of parents who had children just before and after the reform—due to the parents’ own illness and to care for close family members. Our findings suggest that the amount of sick leave taken by fathers has increased in the short and long term and that the amount of sick leave taken by mothers has decreased, although the estimates are not statistically significant. The results are supported by standard RD and robustness tests. We also address the relevance of a composition bias resulting from the unobservable latent sick leave of non-employed individuals. This sensitivity check shows that their latent absence may affect the estimated treatment effect.

Keywords: sickness absence; paternity leave; child care

JEL-codes: I38; J13; J22

42 pages, June 24, 2012

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