Do Fathers Take Family Leave in the United States? Evidence from California's Paid Family Leave Program
Friday, November 13, 2015 : 1:30 PM
Merrick II (Hyatt Regency Miami)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
A large literature has examined the effects of family leave policies on mothers’ leave-taking and labor market outcomes. Yet the research on fathers has been very limited, especially in the United States. This paper provides a causal analysis of the effects of California’s first-in-the-nation paid family leave (PFL) program on paternal leave-taking, using data from the 2000 Decennial Census and the 2001-2013 waves of the American Communities Survey (ACS). Using difference-in-difference and synthetic control methods with a variety of comparison groups, we find robust evidence that California’s PFL policy increased the leave-taking rates of fathers of infants by approximately 60 percent. We also examine the timing of fathers’ leave-taking relative to maternal leave-taking—i.e., do fathers take leave at the same time as the mothers or do they take leave during weeks when the mothers return to work? We further explore heterogeneity in paternal leave-taking by fathers’ demographic characteristics and child gender. Finally, we study whether initial leave-taking around the time of a new child’s birth increases the likelihood that fathers take leave more often as the child grows older.