Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research

No 1/2021: Peer effects and parental leave of fathers

Malin Tallås Ahlzén ()
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Malin Tallås Ahlzén: Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University, Postal: SOFI, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: This paper explores peer effects in parental leave uptake between male coworkers in Sweden. More specifically, I use the first parental leave quota, introduced in 1995, to estimate the peer effects in a fuzzy Regression discontinuity design. The results are allowed to differ with plant characteristics related to monetary and normative costs facing the employee, as well as monetary costs facing the employer. Further, the quality of response of both peers and fathers is evaluated. The empirical analysis indicates that there is no peer effect in Sweden on average and the heterogeneity analysis of costs reveal no robust differences. While the first stage is strong throughout, there is no robust reduced form. This implies that peers (and fathers) responded to the reform, but there was no additional effect on fathers from their peers. I suggest two features of the Swedish setting which in combination are especially unfavorable for peer effects. Firstly, the extensive margin among Swedish fathers was relatively high before the reform. Secondly, the Swedish system allows for continuous applications of parental leave and a flexible outtake. I provide suggestive evidence of a tradeoff between the scope for peer effects and the quality of the information transmitted.

Keywords: Peer effects; Parental leave; Quota

JEL-codes: J13; J16; J18; Z13

29 pages, May 28, 2021

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