Does Paid Sick Leave Facilitate Reproductive Choice?
Unlike most advanced countries, the U.S. does not have a federal paid sick leave (PSL) policy; however, multiple states have adopted PSL mandates. PSL can facilitate healthcare use among women of child−bearing ages, including use of family planning services such as contraception, in−vitro fertilization, or abortion services. Use of these services, in turn, can increase or decrease birth rates. We combine administrative and survey data with difference-in-differences methods to shed light on these possibilities. Our findings indicate that state PSL mandates reduce birth rates, potentially through increased use of contraception but not changes in abortion services. We offer suggestive evidence of heterogeneity in birth rate effects by age, education, and race. Our findings imply that PSL policies may help women balance family and work responsibilities, and facilitate their reproductive choices.
Authors contributed equally to this research and are listed in alphabetical order. Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number 1R01MH132552 (PI: Johanna Catherine Maclean). Ruhm thanks the University of Virginia Bankard Fund for partial financial support. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Institutes of Health. We thank Rahi Abouk, Maury Gittleman, Melanie Guldi, Michael Letteau, Jessica Mason, Stefan Pichler, Joe Spearing, and Katherine Wen, and participants at the American Health Economics Annual and Southern Health Economics Study Group Conferences. Errors are our own. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Christopher J. Ruhm
Christopher Ruhm has served as a plaintiff’s consultant on ongoing opioid litigation.