The Economic Consequences of Family Policies: Lessons from a Century of Legislation in High-Income Countries

45 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2017

See all articles by Claudia Olivetti

Claudia Olivetti

Boston College; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Barbara Petrongolo

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Abstract

We draw lessons from existing work and our own analysis on the effects of parental leave and other interventions aimed at aiding families. The outcomes of interest are female employment, gender gaps in earnings and fertility. We begin with a discussion of the historical introduction of family policies ever since the end of the nineteenth century and then turn to the details regarding family policies currently in effect across high-income nations. We sketch a framework concerning the effects of family policy to motivate our country- and micro-level evidence on the impact of family policies on gender outcomes. Most estimates of the impact of parental leave entitlement on female labor market outcomes range from negligible to weakly positive. The verdict is far more positive for the beneficial impact of spending on early education and childcare.

Keywords: parental leave, childcare, family policies, gender gaps

JEL Classification: J13, J16, J18

Suggested Citation

Olivetti, Claudia and Petrongolo, Barbara, The Economic Consequences of Family Policies: Lessons from a Century of Legislation in High-Income Countries. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10505. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2907247

Claudia Olivetti (Contact Author)

Boston College ( email )

140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Barbara Petrongolo

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+44 20 7955 7799 (Phone)
+44 20 7955 7595 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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