How effective are reforms promoting fathers' parental leave use?

Mats Johansson, Swedish Social Insurance Inspectorate
Ann-Zofie Duvander, Stockholm University

Since the introduction of the parental leave in Sweden a more gender-equal division of the leave has been aimed for. Various strategies have been tried to reach the goal, and three major reforms have been introduced. In 1995 one month was reserved for each parent, implying that the month was forfeited if not used by the same parent. The reservation of one month was followed by another month in 2002. In 2008, a gender equality bonus was introduced, meaning that tax credits were given to parents who shared the leave equally. This study investigates and compares the effects of these reforms on the division of parental leave. The comparison is done by a natural experiment-approach, using control and treatment groups with parents’ to children born just before and after the introduction of each reform. We use register data from the National Social Insurance Agency where parental leave use of all parents residing in Sweden are included. The results indicate a strong effect from the first daddy month, a more modest but clear effect of the second daddy month, and so far, no clear effect from the gender equality bonus. The mean number of days is not influenced but the propensity of using more than 10 weeks increased after the reform.

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Presented in Session 88: Parental leave policies in European countries