The Effects of Family Leave Policy on Child Health: Evidence from 19 OECD Countries from 1969 to 2010

Joyce Shim, Columbia University

This study examines the effects of family leave policy on eight child health outcomes - five age specific child mortality rates (infant, perinatal, neonatal, post-neonatal, and child mortality rates), low birth weight, and immunization rates for measles and DPT across 19 OECD countries from 1969 to 2010. This research contributes to the existing literature by including South Korea and incorporating data from 2001 to 2010. The results suggest that job protected paid leave significantly reduces infant mortality (deaths less than 1 year of age) and post-neonatal mortality (deaths between 1 month and 1 year of age). In particular, the largest effects of job protected paid leave are found in reducing post-neonatal mortality - a 6.16% decrease (p=0.000). Comparing the effects of other leave (unpaid or non-job protected) and job protected paid leave, other leave has no significant effects on any of the outcome indicators.

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Presented in Session 141: Effects of Policies and Programs and Events on Infant Mortality and Birth Outcomes