Does Paternity Leave Reduce Fertility?

55 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2019

See all articles by Lidia Farré

Lidia Farré

Universidad de Alicante; Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) - Institute for Economic Analysis

Libertad Gonzalez

Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE); IZA Institute of Labor Economics


We find that the introduction of two weeks of paid paternity leave in Spain in 2007 led to delays in subsequent fertility. Following a regression discontinuity design and using rich administrative data, we show that parents who were (just) entitled to the new paternity leave took longer to have another child compared to (just) ineligible parents. We also show that older eligible couples were less likely to have an additional child within the following six years after the introduction of the reform. We provide evidence in support of two potentially complementary channels behind the negative effects on subsequent fertility. First, fathers' increasing involvement in childcare led to higher labor force attachment among mothers. This may have raised the opportunity cost of an additional child. We also find that men reported lower desired fertility after the reform, possibly due to their increased awareness of the costs of childrearing, or to a shift in preferences from child quantity to quality.

Keywords: paternity leave, fertility, labor market, gender, natural experiment

JEL Classification: J48, J13, J16

Suggested Citation

Farré, Lidia and Farré, Lidia and Gonzalez, Libertad, Does Paternity Leave Reduce Fertility?. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12023, Available at SSRN: or

Lidia Farré (Contact Author)

Universidad de Alicante ( email )

Campus de San Vicente
Carretera San Vicente del Raspeig
San Vicente del Raspeig, Alicante 03690

Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) - Institute for Economic Analysis ( email )

UAB Campus
E-08193 Bellaterra

Libertad Gonzalez

Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27
Barcelona, 08005

Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE)

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, Barcelona 08005

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

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