Family leave policy and child mortality: Evidence from 19 OECD countries from 1969 to 2010

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Abstract

This study examined the effects of family leave policy on five age-specific child mortality rates across 19 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries from 1969 to 2010. I used the dataset developed by Ruhm and Tanaka and extended it with data from various institutions, including the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research. I controlled for six relevant variables including GDP per capita and health expenditures, three child health indicators, as well as three social expenditure measures for families. I included in all models country and year fixed effects as well as country-time trend interactions. Throughout all model specifications, the results indicated that job-protected paid leave significantly reduces infant mortality (death at less than 1 year of age) and postneonatal mortality (death between 1 month and 1 year of age). Other leave (unpaid or nonjob protected) had no significant effects on any of the outcome indicators.

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