The Returns to Nursing: Evidence from a Parental Leave Program

69 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2017

See all articles by Benjamin Friedrich

Benjamin Friedrich

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management

Martin B. Hackmann

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: February 2017

Abstract

Nurses comprise the largest health profession. In this paper, we measure the effect of nurses on health care delivery and patient health outcomes across sectors. Our empirical strategy takes advantage of a parental leave program, which led to a sudden, unintended, and persistent 12% reduction in nurse employment. Our findings indicate detrimental effects on hospital care delivery as indicated by an increase in 30-day readmission rates and a distortion of technology utilization. The effects for nursing home care are more drastic. We estimate a persistent 13% increase in nursing home mortality among the elderly aged 85 and older. Our results also highlight an unintended negative consequence of parental leave programs borne by providers and patients.

Suggested Citation

Friedrich, Benjamin and Hackmann, Martin B., The Returns to Nursing: Evidence from a Parental Leave Program (February 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w23174. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2920392

Benjamin Friedrich (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Martin B. Hackmann

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

8283 Bunche Hall
Mail Stop: 147703
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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