Maternity and Paternity Leave: Contemporaneous Evidence the June Current Population Survey

Jacob A. Klerman, RAND

This paper combines contemporaneous data on labor market status from the basic monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) and information on the age of a child in months from the Fertility Supplement to the June Current Population Survey to generate new estimates of maternity and paternity leave behavior and how it has changed over the last two decades. We find sharply contrasting patterns across the two parents. The nearly continuous and dramatic decrease in time away from work around the birth of a child appears to have ended in the early-1990s and perhaps reversed. In contrast, until approximately the mid-1990s, there was no evidence that fathers changed their work patterns around the birth of a child, but that pattern also appears to have changed with emerging evidence of measurable paternity leave--lower levels of work among fathers in the months immediately before and after the birth of a child.

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Presented in Session 52: Gender and Family Roles