June 2009

IZA DP No. 4267: Causes and Consequences of a Father's Child Leave: Evidence from a Reform of Leave Schemes

Many OECD countries have implemented policies to induce couples to share parental leave. This paper investigates how responsive intra-household leave-sharing is to changes in economic incentives. To investigate this fundamental question, we are forced to look at one of the Nordic countries which are the most progressive when it comes to family-friendly policies. An extensive reform of child leave schemes in Denmark affected couples differently depending on whether the parents where employed in the same or in different parts of the public sector. Based on a difference-in-differences strategy, I find that economic incentives are very important for intra-household leave-sharing. Increasing the couples' after tax income by $9 per day of leave which is transferred from the mother to the father is found to lead to a one day transfer. This corresponds to a supply elasticity close to unity.