Maternal-Biased Parental Leave

19 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2009 Last revised: 22 Apr 2014

See all articles by Ann-Sofie Kolm

Ann-Sofie Kolm

Uppsala University; Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation

Per Engström

Uppsala University - Department of Economics

Che-Yuan Liang

Uppsala University - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 29, 2009

Abstract

The division of parental leave time between parents is in most countries extremely skewed towards mothers. In this paper we argue that, although it may be rational for a family to let the mother take the main part of the parental leave, the division is too skewed towards the mother even from the family's own perspective. The reason for this inefficiency is that parents have present-biased preferences, which make them place too much weight on the immediate utility effects of childcare. Time-consistent welfare can therefore be improved by increasing fathers' share of the family's parental leave time. In the light of recent regulations in the parental leave system in many countries, we argue that provision of commitment devices is more preferable than regulation when preferences are heterogeneous or uncertain.

Keywords: parental leave, present-biased preferences

JEL Classification: D1, J13, J16, J22

Suggested Citation

Kolm, Ann-Sofie and Engström, Per and Liang, Che-Yuan, Maternal-Biased Parental Leave (April 29, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1447265 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1447265

Ann-Sofie Kolm

Uppsala University ( email )

Department of Economics P.O. Box 513
SE-751 20 Uppsala
Sweden
+46 18 4711131 (Phone)
+46 18 4711478 (Fax)

Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation ( email )

Box 513
751 20 Uppsala
Sweden
+46 18 471 7081 (Phone)
+46 18 471 7071 (Fax)

Per Engström

Uppsala University - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 513
SE-75120 Uppsala
Sweden
+46 - 18 - 471 15 65 (Phone)
+46 - 18 - 471 14 78 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.nek.uu.se/cgi/staffpage.pl?PId=13,lang=eng

Che-Yuan Liang (Contact Author)

Uppsala University - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 513
SE-75120 Uppsala
Sweden

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
45
Abstract Views
631
PlumX Metrics