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Reserving Time for Daddy: The Short and Long-Run Consequences of Fathers' Quotas

49 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2014 Last revised: 19 Jan 2016

Ankita Patnaik

Cornell University

Date Written: January 18, 2016


To motivate fathers to take parental leave, several nations have reformed their leave programs to increase compensation and reserve some leave for fathers. Though takeup has increased, it is unclear whether fathers are responding to financial incentives or changed constraints or the 'daddy-only' labels. Moreover, although paternity leave may facilitate temporary changes in the division of household labor, little is known about whether these effects persist in later years. This paper examines these issues while studying the Quebec Parental Insurance Program (QPIP), a landmark reform to parental leave that increased benefits for all parents and reserved some weeks for fathers. I exploit plausibly exogenous program variation and data on benefit claims to first explore the short-run effects on leave behavior. Both regression discontinuity and difference-in-difference analyses suggest that QPIP increased fathers' participation rates by 250% and leave duration by 150%. Further, I find novel evidence of an intra-household fly-paper effect stemming from the 'daddy-only' label: benefits stick to fathers even when the constraint does not bind and the 'daddy-only' benefits are essentially fungible with the mothers'. Next, I investigate the long-term consequences on household dynamics by analyzing time-diary data and exploiting variation in exposure to QPIP across provinces, time and the age of one's children. This paper presents the first comprehensive evidence that exposure to paternity leave can have a large and persistent effect on the division of household labor: households exposed to QPIP are markedly less sex specialized in their time allocations and labor supply.

Keywords: paternity leave, parental leave, daddy quota

JEL Classification: J13, J16, J22, J18, D10, D60

Suggested Citation

Patnaik, Ankita, Reserving Time for Daddy: The Short and Long-Run Consequences of Fathers' Quotas (January 18, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Ankita Patnaik (Contact Author)

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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