This paper develops a theory of the labor supply effects of maternity leaves statutes. The theory predicts that both employment and leave will increase with the passage of maternity leave legislation, but the direction of the legislation's effect on work is ambiguous. The authors test these hypotheses using data from the 1980 and 1990 censuses. The results are sensitive to the controls for state and year effects and the controls for the characteristics of sampled women. The estimate provides some evidence that maternity leave statutes increased leave, but had insignificant positive effects on employment and work.
Originally published in: Gender and Family Issues in the Workplace, Francine D. Blau and Ronald G. Ehrenberg, eds., pp. 65-91.
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