Parental leave and child health

J Health Econ. 2000 Nov;19(6):931-60. doi: 10.1016/s0167-6296(00)00047-3.


This study investigates whether rights to parental leave improve pediatric health. Aggregate data are used for 16 European countries over the 1969 through 1994 period. More generous paid leave is found to reduce deaths of infants and young children. The magnitudes of the estimated effects are substantial, especially where a causal effect of leave is most plausible. In particular, there is a much stronger negative relationship between leave durations and post-neonatal or child fatalities than for perinatal mortality, neonatal deaths, or low birth weight. The evidence further suggests that parental leave may be a cost-effective method of bettering child health.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child Welfare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Data Collection
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality / trends*
  • Models, Econometric
  • Parental Leave / economics
  • Parental Leave / statistics & numerical data*
  • Value of Life