Child Care and Parental Leave in the Nordic Countries: A Model to Aspire to?

58 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2006

See all articles by Nabanita Datta Gupta

Nabanita Datta Gupta

Department of Economics and Business, Aarhus University; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Nina Smith

Aarhus University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Mette Verner

Aarhus University - Centre for Research in Social Integration and Marginalization (CIM)

Date Written: March 2006

Abstract

The Nordic countries have remarkably high participation rates of mothers and a moderate decrease of fertility rates compared to other western countries. This has been attributed to the fact that the welfare state model and, especially, the family-friendly policies chosen in the Nordic countries are unique. The availability of generous parental leave schemes including high compensation rates makes it possible for mothers to take a considerable time out of work in connection with childbirths and to return to their previous jobs afterwards, thanks to the high provision of public daycare. In this paper we evaluate family-friendly policies in the 'Nordic model' with respect to the two modes of child care i.e. either parental care facilitated by maternal and parental leave schemes or non-parental publicly provided care. Our questions for discussion are: Is there a 'Nordic model', and is it worth the cost if effects on child development and welfare are included? Is there a trade-off between family-friendly policies and family welfare, and are there serious negative boomerang effects of family-friendly policies on women's position in the labor market? Is the 'Nordic model' a model to aspire to?

Keywords: family friendly policies, labour supply, gender wage gap, fertility, public

JEL Classification: J1, J2, D1

Suggested Citation

Datta Gupta, Nabanita and Smith, Nina and Verner, Mette, Child Care and Parental Leave in the Nordic Countries: A Model to Aspire to? (March 2006). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=890298

Nabanita Datta Gupta

Department of Economics and Business, Aarhus University ( email )

Fuglesangs Allé 4
8210 Aarhus V
Denmark
+45 87165207 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://pure.au.dk/portal/da/ndg@econ.au.dk

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Nina Smith (Contact Author)

Aarhus University - Department of Economics ( email )

Universitetsparken
DK-8000 Aarhus C
Denmark
+45 8948 6413 (Phone)
+45 8615 5175 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Mette Verner

Aarhus University - Centre for Research in Social Integration and Marginalization (CIM) ( email )

DK-8210 Aarhus V
Denmark
+45 8948 6416 (Phone)
+45 8615 5175 (Fax)

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