The Long-Run Effects of California's Paid Family Leave Act on Women's Careers and Childbearing: New Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design and U.S. Tax Data

42 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2019 Last revised: 6 Mar 2023

See all articles by Martha J. Bailey

Martha J. Bailey

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics

Tanya Byker

Middlebury College - Department of Economics

Elena Patel

University of Utah - Department of Finance

Shanthi Ramnath

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

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Date Written: October 2019

Abstract

We use administrative tax data to analyze the cumulative, long-run effects of California’s 2004 Paid Family Leave Act (CPFL) on women’s employment, earnings, and childbearing. A regression-discontinuity design exploits the sharp increase in the weeks of paid leave available under the law. We find no evidence that CPFL increased employment, boosted earnings, or encouraged childbearing, suggesting that CPFL had little effect on the gender pay gap or child penalty. For first-time mothers, we find that CPFL reduced employment and earnings roughly a decade after they gave birth.

Suggested Citation

Bailey, Martha Jane and Byker, Tanya and Patel, Elena and Ramnath, Shanthi, The Long-Run Effects of California's Paid Family Leave Act on Women's Careers and Childbearing: New Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design and U.S. Tax Data (October 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w26416, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3476496

Martha Jane Bailey (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics ( email )

8283 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1477
United States

Tanya Byker

Middlebury College - Department of Economics ( email )

Munroe Hall
Middlebury, VT 05753
United States

Elena Patel

University of Utah - Department of Finance ( email )

David Eccles School of Business
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
United States

Shanthi Ramnath

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago ( email )

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