Do Family Policies Affect Births, Maternal Employment and Marital Stability?
59 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2021 Last revised: 2 Nov 2021
Date Written: October 29, 2021
This paper examines the effect of the introduction of a 1982 maternity benefit program on childbearing, employment, and marital stability in the former Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The program included one year of partially paid leave and a small cash payment at birth. We use individual-level panel data and compare the Soviet republics with similar East European countries using a difference-in-differences framework. First, fertility rates increase, particularly for second births among older women, suggesting an increase in completed fertility. Second, maternity leave length and job continuity increase, while employment one to five years after childbirth does not. Third, overall female employment increases, likely due to incentives to qualify for maternity benefits. Finally, marital stability for married couples increases one to five years after childbirth.
Keywords: maternity benefits, family policy, pronatalist policy, fertility
JEL Classification: J08, J12, J13, J16, J18, H31, P36
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