NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Kari Vea. Salvanes

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October 2013What Is the Case for Paid Maternity Leave?
with Gordon B. Dahl, Katrine V. L√łken, Magne Mogstad: w19595
Paid maternity leave has gained greater salience in the past few decades as mothers have increasingly entered the workforce. Indeed, the median number of weeks of paid leave to mothers among OECD countries was 14 in 1980, but had risen to 42 by 2011. We assess the case for paid maternity leave, focusing on parents' responses to a series of policy reforms in Norway which expanded paid leave from 18 to 35 weeks (without changing the length of job protection). Our first empirical result is that none of the reforms seem to crowd out unpaid leave. Each reform increases the amount of time spent at home versus work by roughly the increased number of weeks allowed. Since income replacement was 100% for most women, the reforms caused an increase in mother's time spent at home after birth, without a...

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