Do Family Policies Affect Births, Maternal Employment and Marital Stability?

59 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2021 Last revised: 2 Nov 2021

See all articles by Elizabeth Brainerd

Elizabeth Brainerd

Brandeis University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Olga Malkova

University of Kentucky - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 29, 2021

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Brainerd, Elizabeth and Malkova, Olga, Do Family Policies Affect Births, Maternal Employment and Marital Stability? (October 29, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3819984 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3819984

Elizabeth Brainerd (Contact Author)

Brandeis University - Department of Economics ( email )

Waltham, MA 02454-9110
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Olga Malkova

University of Kentucky - Department of Economics ( email )

Lexington, KY 40506
United States

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